Customer Service – Lessons of The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

The UGLY – booked an engineer to relocate my satellite box in advance of a carpenter installing a built-in unit in my living room. All confirmed on the phone for the next week which was a few days before the installation would happen, credit card charged. Next day received an email that the relocation was moved to next year!!! When I called to enquire I was informed that the process had been miscommunicated to me – I could request a date but the email confirmation (or not) would be THE date. Ok you guys made a mistake (please listen to the recording of the call which you say you’re always recording for quality purposes) how will you rectify it? “We can’t, that’s your date” I was told. Long story short there is no escalation process for satisfying a customer’s requirement when the company made a mistake. Oh, and I had to repeatedly ask for a refund and insisted on a credit towards my monthly service as well.

Lesson: train your staff adequately to prevent mistakes happening in the first place which might mean helping them have potentially difficult conversations with customers about not being able to meet their requirements.

The BAD – this might be a little harsh as I ultimately got what I was expecting. I ordered dining chairs to arrive in time for Thanksgiving. I received an email that they were in 1 day early. Excellent but I couldn’t get there early so arranged to pick up at the pre-agreed time (they couldn’t deliver unfortunately). Hours before I set off to collect the chairs I received an email that the chairs had not actually been delivered and that they tried to phone me but the number they had for me was incorrect (I had given my printed business card so not sure why it was incorrect). I called them to find out what happened. Long story short the paperwork said they’d arrive but the stock actually hadn’t. He told me he was trying to find them but wouldn’t be able to get back to me for potentially 3 hours. Fine by me. He called me back within 2 hours and said he had located 4 new chairs, arranged for delivery the next day but couldn’t tell me the exact timing. Now you are probably wondering why this is bad? Because he repeatedly told me his colleague had not lied about saying the chairs arrived a day early (I never suggested he did, nor had I even thought that until he mentioned it),  repetitively said this was taking him a lot of time and effort, I quote “I haven’t gotten any work done for the last 2 hours because of your issue.”  At this point I had gotten what I wanted an better – my chairs delivered to my home the day I needed them – so I gave him some feedback. First, it’s not my issue, it’s your company’s issue, you are the ones that didn’t get the stock in properly as agreed. Second, fulfilling a customers

Lesson: by changing how he communicated the solution to me could have won him and the company so much goodwill I would have been signing their praises from the rafters. It’s often not what you say but how you say it.

The GOOD – Holloway Lights!!! I ordered 2 lights from them by phone via a real person because one was a discounted floor model and 1 full price from regular stock. The lights arrived on time for my electrician. Unfortunately the floor model was not the same as the other which was what I wanted. When I called to advise them they immediately said they were sorry, they should have realized it as I had explained it and asked me to leave it with them for the day. Before the end of the day he called me back with the arranged pick up time for the erroneous light, the delivery date for the proper light and a discount on the new light. On the day of delivery of the new light the same gentleman called me to confirm I had received it, that it was what I wanted and was there anything more he could do for me.

Lesson: own any mistakes, solve them in the easiest way for the customer, proactively communicate, and follow up to ensure the customer is happy.