When you are lucky enough to experience good customer service, you just know it, and you walk away from the encounter with a great feeling, one of satisfaction where you say to yourself, ‘now that’s a company that cares about their customers.’ So, let’s talk Apple. With all the press about the iPhone 4 and it’s shortcomings and Steve Jobs’ notorious tin ear, their customer service is well above par, not perfect, but a model for most other companies to aspire to.
When I received my first iPhone 4 in the mail, the day before delivery was scheduled, I immediately had reception issues. Unfortunately those issues worsened to the point where one day I could no longer hear people speaking and they could no longer hear me. I walked into the Apple Store on 67th and Broadway in Manhattan, and was greeted at the Genius Bar by a very professional and kind person, who was able to squeeze me into a slot with a tech. It was determined that my phone had died, and was instantly issued a replacement. Alas, that phone also had issues, and even where cell strength was excellent, I had no signal. A week later at the Rockaway, NJ store I was given a new phone by a customer service PROFESSIONAL at the Genius B. Wow, impressive–most impressive. I was not interfacing with a snotty person who could care less about my problems, but someone who was truly concerned with my satisfaction. But wait you say, those phones were under warranty. Correct, but that’s not the whole story.
My first iPhone, a 3G was purchased in January 2009. For whatever the reason in February 2010 the phone could no longer hold a charge, or remain connected to WiFi. Something had gone wrong and the phone had become virtually unusable unless plugged in. I called Apple and they informed me that, like my Jeep, it was out of warranty–but, said the person on the line “take it to a store and they will probably be able to help.” Off to the Manhattan store I went, where they, yes you guessed it, they replaced the phone. Whoa! A company that stands by its product and its customers.
I think we often feel like we are giving away the store and the keys to it when we really go out of our way for our customers, and sometimes your good deeds will ultimately lead to nothing. At Webvantix we’ve spend extra time with customers and never billed them, only to lose them to another company because they offered them similar services for a few dollars less. My advice, let customers like that go, and focus on continuing to add value to the customers who stay with you. Strive to create great relationships by over delivering on a consistent basis and ultimately your business will be rewarded.
Just remember, return those calls and e-mails every day and put customer service standards into place, and your customers will love you for it!
I’m curious, does your company offer a specific outline for customer service issues? Please share them with us!
Living in the country in the northeast dictates that you need a four-wheel drive vehicle. When it was time for a new car I chose a brand new 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee LTD, with the V8 HEMI–wow, here a luxury vehicle with more get up and go than my 5 series BMW, and moved through deep snow like it was not even there!
Unfortunately the moon roof developed a leak that was once so bad that I returned to my car after a movie to a literal pool of water in the passenger side foot well. Not good. So, I dug around the Jeep website to find their customer service number(they did not make it easy), and contacted them.
Sorry, said the snotty girl on the other end of the phone, it’s out of warranty and there is nothing we can do. By chance, as a friend was purchasing a vehicle from a dealer in the area that also sold and serviced Jeeps, I stopped by the service department to discuss the issue with a service rep. He said the whole upper upholstery would have to be taken down to fix the issue and it was about $1000 job! He suggested I contact their liaison to Jeep, which I did. The liaison indicated that Jeep had ‘closed’ the issue and that nothing could be done to help, and that was their final decision.
A few weeks later, angry and feeling like a company I endorsed because I loved their product had ignored me, I found myself in another Jeep dealership several states away, for a much needed oil change. When I told their service rep my story, he said, “let’s take a look at it first.” As soon as he looked it the moon roof he said “the timing is off and it’s not closing properly.” They fixed it in 30 minutes.
In an effort to make this story short I have not gone into detail about the customer service line and the person with whom I interacted, but it was a pathetic excuse for customer service.
Soon it will be time for a new car–will I buy another Jeep?
Do you think I should? What do you think they should have offered to do?
Stay tuned for our final installment on this three part series on Customer Service, which is an example of how a company handled an out of warranty product and kept a customer forever!
This is a story of two vastly different companies, with different approaches to customer service. One bad, and I mean really bad, and the other good, and I really good!
First, a short back story.
One aspect of our business that Webvantix takes very seriously is customer service. As a matter of fact, part of the reason this company was started almost four years ago was as a response to customer service issues in this business. Another firm, in an unrelated industry where I was a partner, had retained a web development company, that, to put it bluntly, never returned correspondence–phone calls, emails, smoke signals, nothing. Additionally, with firsthand knowledge, we were not the only customers they ignored. Strange.
So when Webvantix started, one of our standing orders was that we return all e-mails, and phone calls the same day–customer, prospective customer, vendor, prospective vendor–we are always in touch. My belief, personally and professionally, is that if someone does not return your e-mail or call, in this day and age of ‘immediate technology,’ they are saying directly to you, that you’re not worth their time or the effort, a metaphorical blow-off!
Our next installment will highlight an interesting story of how companies should not ignore customer service, yet still do.
I’m curious, what customer service mandates does your company have in place?
We are nothing if we don’t pay attention to our customers and prospective customers…treat them like gold from the first point of contact, or else…
I’ve blogged about this before, and whenever I do, I take more notice of how Webvantix treats its customers and prospective customers, how we are treated as a company, and how I am treated individually.
Even in difficult economic times, where businesses need to be going the extra, extra mile to court and re-court customers I see lazy responses from staff everywhere I look, and ultimately it becomes a strong reflection of the company and those at the helm.
So, what can be done? Instead of a untrained, unresponsive staff, how about educating them to ‘help’ and ‘go that extra mile’ for customers and prospective customer? Doesn’t that make sense?
Here’s a great way to look at it:
A country club near me posts this throughout their staff areas:
The Ten Commandments of Hospitality
1. Always greet guests first. Never pas a guest without saying “hello.”
2. Take pride in your appearance.
3. Be enthusiastic. Walk and talk with energy. Enthusiasm is contagious.
4. Be observant. Be sensitive. Be attentive.
5. Treat guest the way you would like to be treated when you are on vacation.
6. Treat co-worker with the same respect and courtesy was we treat our guests.
7. Strive to server consistently quality food, combine with outstanding service.
8. Be honest and trustworthy.
9. Maintain high standard of cleanliness. Pitch in to maintain high standards of appearance of grounds, room, and building maintenance.
10. Work together as a team.
Has your company done this? Do you return every phone call or email that same day? Do you go the extra mile? Here’s a simple place to start: How do you and your staff sound when they answer the phone?
This is a video that has over one-million views and is growing at an exponential rate. Word of mouth is king in the information age. It’s time to start working with your staff to instill the proper way to interact with your customers, otherwise you are a COMMODITY, and you will lose.
In real estate it’s location, location, location and for everything else, it’s service, service, service! Yesterday I read a blog by Seth Godin that discussed great customer service and it got me thinking about an experience I recently had in Milford, Pennsylvania.
I had enjoyed lunch at the Milford Diner, and upon leaving my car was offering no love…my battery had gone completely dead. Looking around I knew there were several repair shops within walking distance, but since it was raining, I choose the closest one Ray’s Auto Repair. Walking over, I spoke to the woman at the counter, in their living room like waiting room, who indicated to me the jump would cost $15 and she would send a tech right over. He arrived with a portable jump kit, which, alas, could not do the job (I have a big V8 Hemi which needs a lot of juice to get started). Walking back and forth, he tried several different battery powered jump kits, all to no avail.
Within only one or two minutes several techs arrived and they pushed the car over to their bay where they proceeded to get it started, as well as checking the quality of the battery. As I saw on their computer, the battery was bad, and the news got worse–$189+tax and install to replace it, $220 in total. Ouch! I had to make it to the bank in the next town and contacted the Auto Zone to check the price, which was $50 less. I purchased the battery and returned to Ray’s for the install as I wanted them to have the business. They installed it in 5 minutes and I was good to go–no charge! Now, they have my business forever–the BBB sticker they display is no lie.
All the time I notice companies with great customer service and terrible customer service–our company, Webvantix, does telemarketing, and I find it interesting how companies with great customer service are kind to telemarketers, and those that don’t count customer service as a key to their business can be downright nasty.
It’s compelling to think how important customer service is, not only to existing customers, or prospective customers, but to everyone, at all times–and yes, even telemarketers…who can be customers too!
What’s your opinion? Have you had really good customer service at the local level, or really bad customer service? When, where?
One of the most difficult things a business owner faces is deciding where to spend their money in order to grow their business. Of course, we believe that a professional website is a necessary tool to showcase a business. Yet, conversely, a poor website can actually put off prospective customers–making the right decision can almost be paralyzing!
We thought that highlighting some of the quotations our customers have forwarded to us would ease the burden of the decision.
“My site completely suits me and the Webvantix staff was so fun to work with. They delivered a site that is just what I asked for–straightforward, clean and simple. They captured the spirit and therapeutic environment of my business perfectly.”
– Fran Hlavacek, Owner Simple Kneads Massage Therapy, Milford, Pennsylvania
Thanks for checking in with Webvantix, there will be more quotes to come, as well as a Blog entry by a customer with a new website…