I’m going to tell you a story.
The other day, I was out shopping for a new mobile phone. I’d seen some adverts for the one I was looking for, browsed through a couple of catalogues, and decided pretty much on the style, brand and model I was after.
The importance of buying face to face
I don’t know if you’re the same, but no matter how much shopping I do online, some things are always best bought in person. A mobile seems to be one of those things. When you choose a mobile, you’re effectively buying a companion that is going to be with you 24/7, 365. You need to be able to ask questions about it, get help setting it up, possibly (for the non-technical among us) ask for the sales assistant to support you with transferring all of your data, and spend a good amount of time holding the handset, checking out the camera, seeing what other similar products are about to compare against, and generally getting buttered up by the guy behind the counter who is on commission.
An example of terrible customer service
So, I went to the phone shop and stood in line waiting my turn. I walked up to the counter and greeted the bored-looking sales assistant. He glanced at me, turned away and proceeded to have a quick chat with his colleague.
I felt a bit nettled at this point. I drummed my fingers on the counter pointedly, and waited for the guy to finish up his discussion.
After about three minutes, there was a growing queue behind me. Eventually, the sales assistant turned to me. I asked him if he would help me choose the best phone to meet my needs. Evidently bored and irritated, he shrugged his shoulders and walked over to the end of the counter, sat down, put his feet up and started to leaf through a magazine.
What shabby service does to brand and company image
I walked out of the shop and vowed never to go back. I was disgusted. I also promised myself that I would take some time to name and shame the store, and let everyone I speak to know exactly how I had been treated, in an effort to persuade my friends, family and colleagues not to shop at that particular store.
OK, I’ll be honest with you. That scenario never actually happened to me.
But, imagine if it did?
The store in question would not only have lost my custom, but probably that of every single person whom I shared my experience with. Word of mouth is critical in persuading people to buy at certain firms, and we always tend to take the recommendation of people we know and trust when it comes to choosing which service provider to use.
The point is, for every poor review a company receives, it probably takes about ten positive comments for it to regain the trust of customers.
Online business is just the same.
Your blog acts as your store front, and every time you inadvertently lapse in communicating with clients, fail to deliver positive service, or send out sub-standard products, you’re jeopardising your organisation’s brand, reputation and effectiveness.
How to act like you really don’t care about your clients…
Not responding to your customers when they get in touch online, presenting them with broken links, failing to meet your deadlines for delivery of services or products – all of these things are the equivalent of the guy in the phone shop turning away and putting his feet up!
So, the next time someone gets in touch with you to ask about your products and services, or asks for support or assistance, make sure you deliver. We have a responsibility to greet, support and help our customers just as much online, as we would if we were standing in our own shop waiting for them to make a purchase!
What’s your experince of bad customer service?
Please share your views in the comments below.