BY NORBERT RUG
I recently had some discussions about customer service due to some less than favorable experiences I had. I spent a rather cold night recently due to a botched thermostat replacement. To be sure I will never use that person again for anything and have told everyone I know about this experience. Lesson that I learned from this experience. Never hire anyone off of a Facebook suggestion.
One in ten people influence the other nine and consumers are highly unlikely to return to a business if they had a poor customer service experience from them.
The next day, a Sunday, I pulled out the phone book (yes a few of old timers still use a phone book) and called EVERY electrician listed except for the one who miss wired my garage and almost burned it down. I even called the ones that advertised 24/7 emergency service. I ended up talking to many machines and only one company responded. They said that just the service call would be $250 I didn’t care I was freezing. They said they would call back within an hour after they got in touch with their technician on call.
Two hours later I called them back and they told me they were still trying to get in touch with their employee. A few hours after that, they called me back and told me that their worker was unavailable due to hunting season. So much for 24/7/365 emergency service. It was a very cold weekend. On Monday, an out of town electrician from Alden helped me. I had heat again within 45 minutes of their showing up and that included a trip to the big box building supply store. Support your local businesses (sarcasm).
When customers have a poor customer service experience, they often quickly tell other people about it. People anticipate that a company will take care them after they spend their money and if the customer support is not up to snuff it will be bad for a company.
One of the people I talked with told me that their name brand refrigerator, which they bought from one of the big Buffalo appliance retailers, died on December 28th. The fridge was under 2 years old and they had bought the extended warranty. They were still without a refrigerator on January 15th, while the dealer and the manufacturer argued about the repairs. This person has posted their story on social media for the whole world to see, just stating the facts and their feelings about the lousy service they feel they received. The problems were more than just the food they lost. She said she either has to go shopping every day so she can make dinner or they have to dine out every night.
She was told they would be compensated for the spoiled food. All they have to do is list what was lost, what it cost and where they bought it. Talk about four star customer service. I don’t know about you but I don’t know everything that is in my fridge.
The second person I talked with was mad at one of the large car dealerships in the Buffalo market. Her car was subject to a recall and she was told to call the night before her appointment to secure a loaner. She called 4 times and left her name and number to get a return call that she was promised she would get before they closed at 6:00. Guess who didn’t call?
Now she’ll have to cancel the appointment and reschedule at a dealer that is closer and more convenient since she has no idea if she will getting a loaner or if shell will be stuck out of town all morning waiting for her car to be repaired.
“How hard is it to return a freaking phone call?” She asked. She had to wait forever to get the appointment because they only do so many recall repairs a day. Not only did the dealership lose a customer but the auto maker lost one too.
She also posted her experience on social media for all to see. Once customers start taking to social media to air their ire, more than 60 percent of buyers are swayed by these unfavorable comments.
It’s difficult to nail down the right definition of bad customer service, but customers who have had a negative experience often point to things like speed of service and having to explain their issue to multiple people. Having people speak to management is not enough every time, especially if another employee has not been able to handle a customer’s complaint adequately. The consequences of bad customer service can hurt your business more than a good comment might benefit it. This is true even though you are priced competitively and have a superior product. Poor customer service will make customers more wary to do business with you.
Norb is from Lockport and offered exceptional customer service when he owned his own company.