In a Customer Service Desert
On average, how well are you treated as a consumer or client? Would you say you encounter good customer service practices regularly? Recently, I had an outstanding customer service experience that made me realize how long it had been since I felt treated well as a consumer. It was really refreshing! Here’s what happened:
Call #1: I Thought I Was a Valued Customer?
My phone’s camera was broken, and in my opinion, it was a mechanical issue warranting part replacement. When I called the manufacturer to ask about next steps, I was hit with a sea of questions about my status as a customer, a bank-breaking ballpark estimate, a doubtful tone indicating full phone replacement instead of part replacement, and the “opportunity” to come in 7-10 days later for an assessment of the problem. I hung up feeling like priority #1,000 to the person I spoke with, and I did not feel confident they would work on my behalf to even fix the problem unless I said I could purchase a whole new phone. I chose not to make an appointment and searched for other options—a huge departure from my usual allegiance to this particular brand.
Call #2: So that’s what service is!
Having never been to one of those strip mall phone-fix-it stores, I started by researching for positive reviews of some locations near me, chose one and gave them a call. To my pleasant surprise, the person I spoke with was cheerful, appropriately concerned about prioritizing my phone repair, checked to see if he had the right parts in stock, and said the magic words of “Just come in today when you are ready, we’ll take a look.” So far, so good. When I got to the store, I was greeted with a neat, clean facility, a friendly acknowledgement that I was there, and a short wait time. When it was my turn to hand over my phone, I expressed extra concern about wanting to keep the photos saved properly since there are so many of my infant daughter. The repair man’s reaction? “Of course! I certainly understand. In fact, I will work on your phone out here [instead of in the back] so you can watch.”
And here’s the funny part: at that point, before my phone had even been fully repaired, I had already made up my mind that I liked this service much better than my original “go-to.” It almost didn’t matter whether they could fix my phone or not, even at nearly 1/3 the price of my original quote—I felt like this company was on my side, working with me toward the same goals: to have the phone fixed in a reasonable amount of time and have a generally pleasant experience while doing so.
Client Service Refresher
Working in marketing, I couldn’t help but walk out of there with a few reminders to consider:
- I broke my brand allegiance because of bad client service. Work hard to keep the clients you have.
- I used word of mouth recommendations to help predict my next actions. Be good enough for people to want to sing your praises.
- My mindset and emotions were changed. Get in the trenches with your client to help him succeed.
- The less expensive price was just icing on the cake. Value, i.e., quality and service, can be a good reason why clients make a purchase, not necessarily low prices.
- The product (my phone repair) is the same. Or is it? Evaluate what you are selling to see if client service is included.
By Crista Reed