Last week, I recounted a recent experience and @searsca #fail. But instead of it just being a rant about poor customer service, I wanted to make it a case study to show how treating your customers right, with a few simple steps (and some not so simple ones), can improve your brand.
All told, I highlighted six #fails in my last post which I wanted to look at in more detail to see which ones had an easy fix and what could be done that would have changed my experience for the better and even made me reconsider and remain a customer. The list of things you can do to fix customer service could be longer and different depending on the company but many of these will apply:
- Have a good quality product: The first #fail was that my dishwasher broke down before the three year mark which really points to a poor quality product. We had read reviews before we bought it, which were quite positive, but maybe they were new owners too. I get that products can break but you need to put out a good quality product in the first place and if there are issues then you need to respond and make it right as quickly as possible.
- Always deliver on your commitments: When I booked the appointment, they said I would get a phone call to confirm and narrow down the window to a couple of hours when the technician would come by. Many other commitments were made that never happened. It seems so easy to make a simple phone call. However, if you’re not going to do it then you shouldn’t make the commitment at all. Don’t commit to something and not do it.
- Make your pricing fair and transparent: The third #fail was to charge the customer more than they had been quoted. If something changes, then you need to requote before the work is done. In this case, the visit was to cost $X but there was a minimum that was higher than X and not mentioned in advance. Make sure your pricing is accurate and transparent with no hidden fees.
- Respond promptly to customer requests: Sears Canada is clearly not the only one that does not respond to customers. I’ve lost count of the number of times I have sent an email or left a message and heard nothing back. If a customer calls, phone them back promptly. If they send an email, respond quickly. If you aren’t going to do this then don’t expect to have a business for long. Simple, yes; but not done enough.
- Make your process easy for your customers: Other than the first #fail around product quality, this may be the most costly to fix but the investment would pay back many times with improved efficiencies and better customer experience. It’s a common problem that systems within an organization aren’t integrated and staff doesn’t have access to all the info. However, why make your customers repeat the issue multiple times and/or have to call many different numbers or departments. All the different silos within your organization should be transparent to your customer and systems exist to make this happen. Better yet, put as much of this online and make it self-serve in nature. That way people can get access to the info without waiting on hold and you can benefit from a more efficient system.
- Under promise and over deliver: This one is similar to others on the list but it is also a good catch all for many of the issues I experienced. When you make a commitment you need to deliver as promised or even better surpass that commitment and give your customers a pleasant surprise. If the repair will take two weeks then make sure it’s done in two weeks or better yet one week. If you say you are going to show up between noon and 4:00, do so at 12:05 rather than 3:59. Basically, only make commitments or promises that you know you can deliver on or surpass and deliver more.
Obviously, I don’t know all the reasons behind these multiple #fails with @searsca and I don’t know if making all the fixes above are even possible. However, some of them are fairly simple and common sense so while the change may not happen immediately it should be the goal that everyone works towards.
Many people associate a brand with a logo or tagline or other element but it’s the entire customer experience. That’s why a bad customer experience could do more damage to your brand than anything else. And when you factor in that some fixes are simple and don’t require a huge investment, it’s shocking more companies don’t make this a priority.