Monday, November 24, 2014

GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE

Customer service is one of those things that I pay particular attention to.  I am always watching, listening and learning. 

Some companies pay lip service to the notion of trying to keep their customers happy. They either really do not care, once the sale is made.  

Others get it, they want to ensure your loyalty is rewarded with sincerity.  They want you to be happy - happy enough to pass positive feedback about their business, or product,  along to others. They know that repeat business is the lifeblood of any business.

I have often written about the many great customer service experiences which I have experienced with Apple - with and without Apple Care coverage. I have never once hung-up the phone in frustration. My experience with other computer manufacturers has been less than satisfactory. I will not name them - I have a case of libel chill - but rest assured, I will never be a repeat customer, nor will anyone I share my experiences with.

I feel bad for the salesperson who knows how to sell but is undercut by the manufacturers poor approach to customer service that determines whether or not I will ever be buy that product again. I will use one example, Ford Canada. My wife and I will probably purchase another 6 to 8  cars over of lifetimes. Our kids will purchase cars. We will never ever buy a Ford again. The reason is poor customer service. We bought a lemon, tried to be reasonable and just gave up. two and a half years  years in, we traded the zesty Ford Escape for a Dodge - at a loss.

Not listening to your customers, not dealing with complaints, not being helpful just makes me more exasperated.  Sure "You can't please all the people all the time" but treating everyone with product babble and a reflex shrug is not going to help your company keep my business.

Being helpful, even when there is no immediate profit it in, can create customer loyalty that reaps many rewards.  An act of kindness can lead to a new customer and word of mouth can lead to many more.

Be consistent, let your staff have enough confidence to make take the extra step to ensure good customer interactions. There is nothing I hate worse than being forced to escalate a customer service call to a manager because the CSR has not been given the power to make a small decision.

Which gets me to the point of this post.  Quite possibly my days with Aliant are over. My high-speed service has been inconstant for the past 12 years. On the whole, the response has been prompt and good. 

Over the last two months our speeds have been really poor - not on a consistent basis but often enough to be very irritating. I started recording the speeds a few times a day. Finally, with data in hand, I called customer/technical service, explained the issue and asked for a resolution. A few speed tests later the speed was back to normal. I requested that a technician come by and sort it out. The response was that if they cam by and everything was fine there would be a $70 fee. My response was, hang on, I have demonstrated an issue, explained the "hit or miss" nature of it and you want me to acknowledge a possible repair fee for your companies investigation of the the issue.

My loyalty was to the home team. Several acquisitions later that reason for staying with them is gone. Rogers is just a call away. Customer service is the new deciding factor.

Providing good customer service is a simple and profitable thing.

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