I’m just off the phone with a phone company who botched a service call to our business big time: an unpleasant rep scheduled a service call, tech didn’t show, called the company to discover no record of the appointment, “nothing we can do”, etc.
(An interesting note: the original rep, who acted inconvenienced by my office manager’s call, ended the conversation by saying, “I assume you’ll want to score me a 10 on the service I provided?” Nothing like gaming the evaluation system…)
I spent 30 minutes scouring their website which seems dedicated to prevent you from contacting the company directly. I left messages for two high level executives that I never heard back from but I was eventually able to uncover the CEO’s number and his assistant sent our problem to the escalation department. Normally these service representatives are the best of the best.
Not in this case. The only “resolution” offered was that they come back next Wednesday, a week after the failed appointment.
What? That’s it? You couldn’t make it happen today? Sooner? What about the wasted time and effort (literally hours) spend by our office manager and me?
“Let’s cut to the chase, sir,” came the response from Ms. Escalation, “you want money.”
So delicate and diplomatic. But guess what? For me I didn’t want MONEY–I wanted ACTION; I wanted an indication that my business mattered.
It wasn’t about the money. It was about the principle.
I’d rather have the wasted time back and the frustration gone. I was trying to figure out if the company was willing to do anything to somehow demonstrate that they valued my business. They said they did but their actions indicated that they didn’t.
When we make mistakes on product orders, we do our best to compensate for the problem: we’ll include a free product, a credit, rescind the charge–something. It doesn’t cost us much but it proves we are serious about taking care of the customer. And it makes the customer happy.
For some customers is it about the money, but even if it is, there’s no need to be crass about it. Why not say, “Would it help to credit you something for your inconvenience?” How would this phone company respond to my explanation, “I forgot to pay my bill this month but I assure you I’ll make sure it gets paid next month. After all, I value our relationship.”?
Recently my wife Darla dealt with another service provider’s high-level service rep. When I told her of my experience, she said, “Exactly how I was treated.”
That makes me wonder: are some volume service providers trying to dumb down our expectations? Are we to be like Flounder in Animal House: “May I have another sir?”
There’s always a silver lining. Those service providers who do figure out how to politely and promptly solve problems and prove their commitment to customers stand out. They get talked about positively. They create long-term commitment instead of short-term revenue. They raise their retention rates and improve their service ratings.
And those are really powerful benefits for doing service recovery right.