WOW. I have 3 great, personal examples of customer service all very recently – 1 negative and 2 positive. I really don’t like reflecting on the negative, and so I will just say the lesson I learned as a customer of a business where I will never return. It goes a long way for businesses to acknowledge mistakes or to empathize with a customer’s situation. Make your customers feel you are on their side in trying to resolve the situation. In this litigious society, it’s easy to worry that you’ll be sued if you make a mistake, but that fear usually just translates into businesses not accepting responsibility for anything. Assigning blame to the customer is no effective strategy.
As an accountant, I work with sensitive financial information for businesses and individuals. Trust is the most important quality to have as an excellent accountant. I have learned a lot about how to build, bolster, and maintain people’s trust in my business. But, today I got to witness trust as a customer.
For my first positive experience, this morning I was able to schedule an appt. for an x-ray today. I was so thrilled I could get it taken care of on the same day that I called, especially as my insurance is changing. The scheduler warned me several times on the phone to expect the appt. to take an hour. I made sure my schedule could accommodate an hour of my time, and I arranged to bring reading material for the wait. When I entered the crowded waiting room, I expected the wait to be the full hour. As I headed to my car, I looked at my watch, and the total time was about 1/2 hour. I had an extra 1/2 hour of “SAVED” time. I was thrilled, but I might have instead focused on one x-ray taking 30 minutes if I didn’t have the expectation of it taking an hour. They prepared me for the worst, and they not only respected my time, but they far exceeded my expectation.
Example number 2 was some products I ordered from a very small business. I was a bit dismayed at the amount of the shipping costs relative to my purchases, but I wanted to have these exclusive products for this class with the same company. A few days after my order, I got an email stating they were giving me a small refund. They were still delivering all of the products, but for some reason they were giving me a refund. I imagine they found the shipping wasn’t as much as anticipated, and they were passing along the savings to me. That refund, while small, will pay off with huge benefits because I know this company values fair prices and does not engage in price gouging. That small refund has resulted in a very loyal customer.
I was at my bank’s ATM yesterday, and they congratulated me for 36 years of customer loyalty! I thought it was a mistake because there’s no way my Freshman college year was 36 years ago (when my mom and I opened my first checking account), but sure enough they were right! I am a loyal customer when treated well. Now go treat your customers as Kings and Queens, and watch how they reward you!