Meh….so 20th Century, Darling.

What is it these days?

Looking after your topline, making people want to buy from you, stay with you, respect you and your brand is the key to getting things right as without customers your business is dead in the water but have we allowed some of our biggest global brands to become so focused on their perceived brand strength that it’s bred arrogance into them?

We’ve moved from the customer is always right to the customer will always be there.

I’ve had a bit of a spat with a world leading entertainment business recently over some exceptionally poor customer service (claimed to know nothing about an order I saw them write down in store, didn’t act on an email bounce back to acknowledge a complaint when they had a mobile number to call to a customer service rep identified only by her Christian name and love of Goofy giving responses which would make Bambi blush with shame) and I’m amazed at how little this company which purports to run “The Happiest Place on Earth” seems to care about the overall customer experience.

My concern here is that the arrogance shown by this company will start to filter down and become the norm, we’ll somehow start to find it’s absolutely fine to be offered £25 towards the opportunity to become the worlds oldest Elsa impersonator an acceptable level of recompense for the failure to get a simple order right and a suitable compensation for the additional costs now involved both money wise (They’ve put their prices up twice in the time frame I’m talking about) and time wise as picking these tickets up will now eat into my precious two week break.

The biggest lessons I’ve learned in all my years in a customer service industry all relate back to ensuring that your customer will stay with you and not defect to the opposition but with the likes of such businesses seemingly unbothered about this, how long will it before we all start to care less and less about service?

I, personally, don’t like dissatisfied customers, I know that there is more likelihood of someone complaining to more people about poor service than there is of someone spreading the word about a good experience so I try to avoid this scenario as much as I possibly can.

For small businesses out there it’s vital to protect your topline by making sure you’re giving a good customer experience for three simple reasons:

  • Satisfied clients will repeat buy and often recommend 
  • Unsatisfied clients shout the loudest as they have a grudge against you and want to avoid anyone else having to do through what they have done
  • Dealing with an unsatisfied client takes time and energy which your business can better spend elsewhere.

The company I’ve been complaining to have far too many income streams to worry about the anger they have caused me, they are too big, too arrogant to be bothered that I won’t be going back but if your business lost a single customer or more were put off from engaging you because they’d heard how you had failed, how long do you think you have to realise this and start getting that service right??

So what do you have to do to be at the top of your game?

Here are my suggestions:

  • Get things right but if the customer complains, don’t argue. Just do something unexpectedly nice to put things right as you don’t know what their next step might be.
  • Think carefully about how you pass costs on. In my example the company is big enough and sophisticated enough to have factored currency fluctuations in but they have still chosen to pass this onto the paying public with extreme speed.
  • Make sure you have systems in place to make sure you are at the top of your game, customer wise, every day so that you can either minimise the impact of any complaints or, even better, be so good they don’t happen at all.

It’s not difficult when you think of one fundamental truth – treat customers as you, yourself would like to be treated.