I really don’t like to raise hell about bad customer service online. If you’ve read any of my social media rants, you probably find that hard to believe. I’ve made a commitment to let very few things upset me except the health and well-being of loved ones. I reserve most of my emotional energy for that. Other minor problems and inconveniences I ignore.
But I make an exception for really bad service. I believe you should never pay someone to make your life less pleasant.
So why do I make a post like this?
I do it to break through indifference and get attention. Too many customer service reps or agents are empowered to do little more than apologize. And while that is nice, it isn’t always enough.
Recently I’d been having much too regular problems with DoorDash. If I couldn’t get an explanation or resolution online, I’d call and usually get a satisfactory response (although who wants to waste time and effort getting what they paid for?).
In the transactions with restaurants, drivers and DoorDash, I noticed lots of blaming: drivers blaming restaurant blaming DoorDash blaming…you get the picture. Ultimately a company is responsible for its employees, even if they are independent contractors.
In my last encounter (spoiler alert) before closing my account, I asked to speak to someone in escalations or a supervisor. I was told someone would contact me in 24-48 hours. My late and lukewarm meal would have been long digested by then. I said that was unacceptable and requested a callback within 10 minutes or I would close my account. It wasn’t a threat so much as a clarification of consequences.
In the interest of fairness, I did get a call back that didn’t ring through on my phone. Missed the call. My bad. But there was no message. I called the missed number. It went to another rep who said they couldn’t connect me with whomever called.
Ok, so I’ll wait another 5 minutes for a callback (I waited 10 to be reasonable and it never came). I posted on Facebook and got a healthy response from others who had been frustrated by DoorDash.
Using LinkedIn, I tried to connect with two DoorDash executives. To date I’ve received no response. If there is something we all hate, it is indifference. It says “you don’t count enough to respond to.” When a leader doesn’t seem to care, how can you expect a driver or customer service rep to care?
So I quit. I closed my account and decided in the future to deal with the restaurant’s delivery or pick up orders myself. This helps the restaurant also as they no longer have to give up approximately 20% of the receipts to DoorDash for “service” which may ultimately and unfairly make the restaurant look bad, because what was delicious food when it left the restaurant became inedible as a result of poor handling during the delivery process.
DoorDash will neither fail without me nor thrive with me, but ironically I was categorized as a VIP customer. And that, my friends, is why we don’t always believe language like that. How are non-VIP customers treated?
Does DoorDash have a social media team that monitors feedback? Do leaders at any level search for mentions or hashtags? And when a customer tries to connect directly, isn’t ignoring them the ultimate in indifference?
But here’s what happens when you do pay attention. Someone shared my DoorDash experience with John Newbury, cofounder of a new delivery service, Gopher. John reached out to me and we connected along with cofounder, Tom Livoisi. I was impressed that they, like others, noted the dissatisfaction with large food delivery businesses and looked for ways to reinvent the model that would improve the outcome for everyone: customers, deliverers and the parent company. Most impressive is that they didn’t just listen and watch, they responded with an alternative that I think has incredible potential. Check them out. See what you think.
I watch, listen and monitor. And most importantly, I care. If someone has a problem with my little business, Sanborn & Associates, Inc., I may not always find out about it but I do my best. And I respond, and if appropriate with more than a gratuitous apology. When USPS has lost shipments sent from my business, I have not only replaced the lost shipment but also added some form of compensation for the customer. It wasn’t a problem I caused, but it was a problem I solved. That’s what a commitment to customers is about.
Ask your team if they listen to customers and what they do to prove they care, and that your organization cares. But before you ask, make sure you can say you do those things consistently yourself. (And for a classic example of a front line employee who listened, watched and cared, go to FredFactor.com and read the story, “Meet Fred”).
FINAL UPDATE: Several days after my repeated attempts to engage DoorDash, a service rep reached out to me after reading this blog. He was well meaning, asked me to give DoorDash another try and credited my account a small amount for my inconvenience. I did try them again, and on the second order I experienced yet another miserable failure. Ten minutes before our food was to arrive, the order was canceled. When I contacted customer service through the chat function, I was told it was the restaurant’s failure to accept the order because of a technical issue. That was a lie. I know because I called the restaurant and learned my order had been prepared and was waiting to be picked up. I drove to the restaurant as I should have done instead of using DoorDash, and the manager took excellent care of me. And what has happened since? The same as above: nothing beyond a being credited for the money I spent to get no food or delivery. Apparently I was too optimistic and foolish to give DoorDash another try.
Mark Sanborn is an award winning speaker and Leadership Expert in Residence at High Point University, the Premier Life Skills University. For more information about his work, visit www.marksanborn.com.