Why is it we get customers so happy that we respond to their email within minutes? Why are people in the UK so shocked when they receive good customer service?
As companies in the UK get larger, it seems they sacrifice good customer service to save money. Here is my list of the 5 worst mistakes a company can make:
Taking Too Long to Respond
Nobody likes to wait – so why do some companies promise a response within 72 hours? Who can afford to wait that long for an answer? We try to respond within 1 hour, and start apologizing when it takes more than 4. Also, holding a customer in a phone queue for over 20 minutes while telling them “you call is important to us” is not the way to convince people to do business with you.
Not Knowing Anything about Their Products
It is an annoying trait that companies will employ sales and technical staff who don’t know anything about the product they are advising on. When will companies realise that if all the “technical department” can do is to read off their website, they are no use to someone with a problem.
Apologizing for mistakes is a key point of customer service which many companies don’t seem to understand. Sure, lots of companies will say “I apologize about this, but there is nothing I can do” but that is not good enough. An apology should be sincere and if the mistake is bad, accompanied by something to make up for it, like some money back, a box of chocolates etc. Companies have no idea how much difference a £4.50 box of chocolates can make to an angry customer, especially if it has a hand written card with it.
Apologizing for the customers mistake is also a good practice. I often get people saying “I couldn’t see the information on your website” when I happen to know it’s there. I could respond “well, it’s there in bright red pulsating text” or I could say “I’m sorry you found our website hard to use, let me tell you the information you are need”.
Not Listening to Your Problem
Many customer service staff don’t listen to your problem, hence are unable to help. For instance, I phoned a large but unnamed Telecoms company because I was having problems sending email to anyone who had a email address from them. They first wouldn’t deal with me until I had told them all about my broadband setup. I tried to convince them that it had nothing to do with my broadband, but rather the technology on their servers. They asked me to reboot my router then call back if I still had problems. No matter what I said, they wouldn’t listen. Finally, after 2 hours of discussion, I got through to somebody in technical who could help.
Not Making the Customer Special
Everyone likes to be treated as if they are a special – which is why it’s annoying when you ring somewhere and their first words are “your account number please”. It feels like you are talking to a computer. Not doing that bit extra for a customer because their policy doesn’t allow it is a huge difference between big and small companies today. When you are angry at a company, normally because they have made the above mistakes, and the person who answers the phone says: “policy doesn’t allow us to transfer calls to the manager, so you can’t speak to him” it pushes you off the edge and you never deal with them again.
Hopefully consumers in the UK will start demanding more from companies, instead of letting them practice terrible customer service. Hopefully some companies will read this post and take notice.