If you don’t think great customer service is important for the success of your business you’re missing out. And that’s a polite way of saying it.
The dryer in our home isn’t working very well. It hasn’t for quite some time. (Note: If you’re interested in buying my house don’t worry, the problem will be fixed. I promise.)
It takes 2, sometimes 3 runs of the dryer to dry a load. And that’s not even a big load. I suppose this should irritate me more than it does, but I do have bigger problems. Anyway, my wife takes the initiative (she also has a couple days off work which helps) and calls a dryer repair company. She picked them out of the Yellow Pages (I don’t know how she made the choice; it doesn’t matter.)
She arranged an appointment with the company for yesterday. During her conversation with the lady who answered the phone, my wife asks: “What time will they come?”
Now we all know how it goes. Most at-home service technicians give 1 of 3 answers:
1. Anywhere from 8-5 (i.e. any time during the day randomly)
2. Anytime in the morning
3. Anytime in the afternoon
My wife got, “Anytime in the afternoon.” That’s still pretty broad, so my wife tries to get the time narrowed down, “Can you give me a narrower time frame?”
Lady from the company, “No.” (Well alright then!)
My wife, “Could you have them call me when they know a more accurate time?”
Lady from the company, “Yes.” (Ok, now we’re making progress!)
Cutting to the chase: The lady tells my wife that the technician will call by a certain time. So, my wife leaves the house to run some errands before the agreed upon time. She gets home, but the time passes. She checks the phone messages. Nothing. She waits about 30 minutes. She calls the lady who tells her it’s almost impossible for her to reach the technician now, he’s on the road. My wife then goes downstairs to the front door to double check for any notes the technician might have left. No note. She goes back upstairs to call the lady from the company back. There’s a phone message! The technician must have called while my wife was going downstairs to check for a note. He came by (having NOT called of course) and my wife wasn’t home.
Result: This company bungled the entire operation. They were just plain stupid.
So, my wife calls another company yesterday, and she has a completely different experience.
The lady answering the phone tells my wife the technician can come the following day (i.e. today) and will be there in the morning between 7am-12pm (again, that wide range). The lady tells my wife that she won’t be the first customer, given the technician’s planned route, but it looks like the timing should be closer to 8am-9am. And, the technican will call before he arrives.
Guess what happened? The technician called 10 minutes before showing up, and showed up at 8am.
And when the technician was finished with us, he asked to borrow our phone and called the next client on his list. (Why he doesn’t have a cellphone, I’m not sure, but that’s not the point.)
That’s great customer service.
Planning around at-home service technicians is a pain in the butt. You often end up sitting all day waiting, and sometimes (more often than not, I’d bet!) they don’t even show up. They feel like they have all the power.
That’s completely absurd. They shouldn’t have any power. You have the power. You’re the consumer. The simple solution: find another vendor. And, tell the people losing your business why they’re losing it.
In some cases this is easier said than done. Changing your phone or TV service can often be more trouble than it’s worth (although it’s getting easier and easier), but if I can get better service elsewhere, I’m going for it. I’m not waiting around all day anymore, it’s ridiculous.
Big or small, it doesn’t matter. Providing great customer service shouldn’t be an afterthought. It might not cause you to lose a ton of business in one fell swoop, but it’s going to eat away at your business, and it will eventually sink you. And it’s getting easier and easier for people to go online and express their displeasure to a wider audience. Sure that might lead to a lot of junk (disgruntled employees, general nonsense) but there’s also going to be a lot of valid discussion about what your company is doing when it comes to customer service/support.
On top of that, if anyone needs a good Montreal-based dryer repair company — tell me. I’ll be happy to give a referral.
For more information on customer service/support, read these blogs: