Customer Service, When it Goes Wrong
Posted in society
Friday, September 5th, 2014
I am not going to name the company as Head Office finally trying to sort the issue but it has taken 6 weeks, my stress and anger levels reaching epidemic proportions and me actually wanting to smash my phone in sheer frustration to get to this stage…this is the story so far…
I have ordered some furniture for my son’s new flat via their on-line store, not something I normally do but this is one of the best well known high street stores with a reputation for the best customer service in the industry.. in fact I have been a customer of theirs for over 20 years and can honestly say their store staff are amazing.. the same cannot be said for their on-line customer service team, who I am sure are an outsourced operation, which is one of my pet hates anyway.. in fact when I asked one member of the team if they were outsourced he said he wasn’t allowed to say so let’s face it they are, aren’t they?
So I ordered, online, 3 products, 2 were in stock and would take 7 days to deliver, the final one 3 weeks.. two weeks in we had heard nothing so I called customer service.. having waited 15 minutes to get through to a human being, whilst listening to the most irritating droning music and a supposedly soothing voiced woman telling me every couple minutes how busy they were but would answer my call shortly, and feeling my blood pressure rising with every passing minute, a human finally took my call, my order number and said someone would call me back.. no one did.. I called again 2 days later, again waited over 15 minutes and.. got cut off.. called back, waited 8 minutes, and a promise made once again to call me back… no one did.. called back a couple of days later, another promise, and no call back… as you can imagine by this stage I am at fever pitch.
Now I can be a bolshy bleeder when I am upset BUT I am never rude, I never scream, I am just forceful and demanding of good customer service.. the poor woman that I finally pinned down (metaphorically but believe had she been in the same room I can’t promise I would not have been physical!) tried very hard AND did resolve my issues culminating in two of the products being delivered as promised but she also promised that she would sort the final item.. nothing.. waited another two weeks and tried again..
OMG! Waited 10 minutes and finally got to speak to a very nice man, who promised he would look into it immediately and guess what? Someone would call me back.. I promised him £50 if that happened.. knew my money was safe.. and I was right..
In the interim, I received an email from market research asking me to complete a customer satisfaction form. Now I always complete these, when customer service is outstanding I praise.. just ask the lovely man at Harrod’s pet shop who wrote me a delightful letter to thank me for writing to personnel to say how great he was, or the man who sold me a suit for my son in Kendal’s in Manchester when I waited for his Manager to come back from his break to tell them how brilliant the sales person was, or the owners of the Runnymede Hotel who I emailed to say how fantastic his staff were when we stayed there.. I believe people who do their job well should be applauded for it.. and when it is poor, I also say.. so I duly filled in the form, giving them zero on every single section relating to service and completed the comments section explaining why, with my mobile phone number if anyone wanted to call me to discuss ( ha ha ha ha.. as if that was happening)..
Anyway, today I tried once again to resolve, waited only 8 minutes this time almost a result, except.. he took my order number and then cut me off..
Enough was now enough, I had a migraine I was so uptight..so tried to find Head Office number, no easy task as all numbers led back to Customer Service Centre and I was not in any fit state to try that route again.. but tenacious is my middle name and I tracked it down.. spoke to a Receptionist who said only Customer Service dealt with issues, but funnily enough when I demanded the MD email address I got through to a human being, a real live human being, who actually worked for the business proper, who gave a damn and has now given me her direct line number, an absolute guarantee that she would call me back with an update, which SHE DID YAY! And a promise that she was handling it personally and would resolve it, hence why I am not giving the company name at this stage.. but I will tweet, Facebook, blog etc everyone and anyone if by the end of September it is not, as has been promised, sorted!
What have I learnt? Well never going to use their on-line service again, obviously BUT more importantly, I run my own business so I know things go wrong, I know you can be let down by suppliers, candidates, I know customers are every increasingly demanding, that they can easily go elsewhere AND social media etc means we can much more easily destroy a reputation, rightly and wrongly but I also know that:
A) IF YOU PROMISE TO DO SOMETHING, DO IT AND IF YOU CAN’T BE HONEST AND CALL YOUR CUSTOMER BACK AND EXPLAIN
B) Don’t pass the buck, own the problem, it only becomes a real issue when it is ignored, every problem can be resolved with a sorry or an explanation even if you can’t provide them with what has been asked for, make it your mission to resolve, go the extra mile because the payback is huge..
Because C) lost business/customer is lost forever NO MATTER IF YOU GET YOUR MONEY BACK, OR SOMETHING FOR FREE.. once it has gone you won’t ever win the lost customer back because they have lost faith in you and you are the business and if you don’t care then you should not be in business because despite economy recovering, it is still fragile, competition is keener than ever.. REPEAT business is what we should all be striving for, as actually it is easier than finding new business, and a happy customer will recommend you, and recommends mean more new business .. simples!!
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