Customer LOVE

I apologize for not posting lately. We encountered some courier problems which affected some of our shoppers’ schedule. But the good news is, it has been resolved! The kind operations manager of the courier arranged that the full amount of the shipment lost be reimbursed to us. Bravo for their speedy response and it’s another big hooray for the customer!

This is a topic I’ve been meaning to write about — how important it is to “recover” a customer after a really bad experience.  A company’s commitment to customer service is put to the test when the staff or management has to respond to a customer complaint. A complaint, big or small, is always an opportunity for the company to WIN that customer back and if done correctly, they win the customer for life! Let’s call it Customer Love!

Sometimes I feel I am a magnet for bad customer service. One example, every time I travel and use roaming services, I always (yes, always) find mistakes in my phone bill. I heard they call these ‘bill shocks’. Well, they couldn’t have used a better word.  But I’m still with the same carrier after so many years, the reason is definitely not their consistent service, because they are far from it.  The reason for my loyalty is every time I make a complaint to their head office, results come, sometimes delayed and would require me to follow up several times, but nevertheless, they do get resolved. And for a very patient customer like me, this is important.

The best scenario would of course be to make a complaint, and be pleasantly surprised that action is done without the pain of having to follow up.  Companies should actually welcome complaints, because not everyone will spend (or waste?) time to do the right thing and ranting on social media nowadays seems to be the easiest way to get results. I personally do not believe in this as my stand is to always complain to the company directly. Complaints made on social media do attract sympathy from the rest of the online community and the reactions are fueled by the mob mentality. Some can be very explosive especially when posted by influential bloggers and demand the attention of the company in question because of the negative publicity it is attracting.

I do it differently, and this is something I encourage my friends, colleagues and our Customer Experience Advocates to do. GIVE THE COMPANY THE CHANCE TO RECOVER YOUR TRUST.

I can say that this worked for me several times. And each time it happens, I silently cheer “hooray for customer service!” I had this experience before with my bank. They have been my bank for more than 5 years, and the branch personnel was pushing me to avail of their car loan. When I finally did, the experience was so bad that I wished I never even went through with it in the first place. The problem was actually the staff they assigned to handle my application. She was just disorganized from day 1, she gave empty promises and was the type that would just lead on
her customers. I visited her office one day to personally submit some documents, and the way she treated me face-to-face was really appalling. She was consistently bad. And for me to say this, it really means bad!  But still, I tried to be the patient customer and told myself, to just wait and follow whatever process they have.  The 2 weeks she promised me became 2 months and so many emails and texts exchanged to follow up on what’s happening to my application. The last straw was on the day I was to receive my loan proceeds, she told me that they have suspended approving loans at the moment and I needed to prove that I’m a valued client before they can continue processing my loan (in their eyes, a valued client means the number of zeros in your bank balance).

After this email, my angel wings just disappeared and no more miss-nice-customer!  I was really angry, and people who know me can attest that I rarely get mad.  So what did I do? I emailed the bank’s president, the head of loans, and the head of marketing.  I got their email addresses thanks to Google.

I channeled my anger towards writing a full complaint and documenting every text and email we exchanged (oh yes, I saved them all). By the time I was finished, my full documentation reached 17 pages.  My husband met the president to give him personally a hard copy of the letter. And the president’s first reaction was — why did I wait so long, I should have demanded action after  1 week! Wow. I’d like to take his word and test this one day :). The best part, of course, was how they resolved things. After that email, I got calls from the head of loans and the head of marketing apologizing and reassuring me that it was not how they wanted my experience to be. The surprise came when I received my loan proceeds without having to leave home. It was credited to my savings account the next morning. Hooray for the customer!

So there, it was a big lesson for me. I shouldn’t be too patient to the point that I get abused already for being nice. Customers should know when to put their foot down and just demand what is right and what is just.  If you have experienced appalling service, the owner or the president of the company cares to hear from you. So give them a chance to make wrong things right, as it is their job to delight their customers. If the owner or the president does not care about their customers,
they shouldn’t be in business in the first place!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

PS. If you have ‘customer love’ stories to share, please leave a comment. We’d love to hear from you.

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