These days, as sad yet true as it is, I enter into my customer service experiences with other businesses anticipating misery. Some will say that’s a negative mindset. I can’t argue that. Others might warn that in doing so, I’m creating a self-fulfilling prophesy. Perhaps.
Then there’s the rest of you. Who feel exactly the same way!
It seems almost inevitable we’ll be spending most of our time on hold. When someone does answer, it’s from a call centre we’ve been transferred to overseas, and in their very best (horrible) fake English accent, they read straight from their script making little to no effort to actually solve our problems.
The other thing I sometimes feel is the corporation simply doesn’t care because in the grand scheme of their business, I’m irrelevant. A customer they can afford to lose.
Last week I had two horrible customer service experiences. One with a Pay 2 Play Casting Site I actually no longer even do business with, but an error THEY made many many months ago came back to haunt (and cost) me. The other, with the largest U.S. Rental Car Agency by sales.
In both of these terrible experiences I took some notes of things that bothered me most. If you’ve got to live through the experience, you may as well learn from it, right?
Here’s what I learned. I know these will help me do better business. Perhaps they’ll help you as well.
Five Lessons Learned From Two Customer Service Fails
1) Do what you say you’ll do. Don’t change the rules half way through the game: If you quoted a rate and reached an agreement on terms, stick to those terms. Don’t try to excuse yourself from it with fine print, technicalities or other terms that were never discussed.
2) Solve problems fast: In one of the above mentioned experiences, I was transferred through eight different reps including three managers! There’s absolutely no excuse such an occurrence to solve a simple problem. If a client comes to you with a problem, solve it. The end. If it was your mistake, solve it faster! I say it all the time, Happy clients are repeat clients!
3) Be available: One of these experiences lasted nearly two hours! I spent most of that time on hold. When clients call, answer. Quickly. Yes, there will be times when you can’t. Understood. But a quick email that even acknowledges their request can go a long way to providing exceptional service.
4) Never blame the client: In both of my experiences, the reps I spoke with blatantly blamed me for my problems, despite the fact in both cases the issues were clearly not of my own doing. I don’t care if the problem you’re faced with is your clients fault, NEVER throw it back in their face. Do what you can to solve the problem. Be excellent.
5) Someone else is ready to do what you can’t: The Rental Company was unwilling to solve my problem in a reasonable way. Their competition, however, was more than happy to step in, go above and beyond and solve my problem with absolutely no hassles. It took me less than four minutes! If you fail your clients, there are ten other VO’s ready to step in.
Although I had already long since stopped doing regular business with the Pay 2 Play site in question, I was a very loyal customer of the Rental Car Agency. No longer. Their lack of professionalism and their inability to quickly solve a simple problem sent me straight into the open and welcoming arms of one of their competitors.
That’s the price of bad customer service. You will lose business.