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Today I want to look at customer service.
Is it me, now I'm officially a Grumpy Old Man, or is true that customer service is a thing of the past? Every big company claims to have invested millions in improving their customer service, but have you seen any evidence?
Waiting for hours on the phone, having to listen to music that wouldn't even have got zero points in the Eurovision Song Contest or being passed around from pillar to post is not my idea of fun.
However, when you do find good customer service you tell people about it. Take a bow Marks and Spencer, Amazon and First Direct Bank. They know how to treat a customer well unlike nPower, BT and Aviva.
Over the years we've had clients who hated giving refunds and went to great lengths to avoid giving them - putting phone calls on hold for 20 minutes or more, one client even took great delight in shredding all his refund requests. While this may have boosted short term profits it is interesting to note that both of these companies soon went out of business. Refunds are a cost of doing business, just build it in and refund promptly, with a smile. In the days of social media you may even get past customers praising you rather than slagging you off.
Other problems are best handled by the person on your staff that takes the first call. A simple script like : "I'm really sorry you are having this problem, my name is Mike and if I can take all the details I'll find a solution and get back to you by (time and date here). If you can give me your email address I can copy you in on any relevant emails too. Feel free to call back and ask me for any updates and, if I'm not available, I'll see that Ruth will have the relevant information to try and help you."
All you need do then is make sure you do all you can to solve the problem quickly and you get back to the client when you said you would. This would not be expensive as it would save many more calls from the client who would be getting more and more angry.
I once asked a member of staff what he thought he could do better. "I could get a lot more done if I didn't have to deal with the problems" he said. I told him to embrace the problems as if business was that easy we would have much more competition, we just had to become the best at handling our clients problems.