by Philip M. Anderson
Hello again and welcome to another post about mastering customer service. I’m sorry it’s been so long since the last one.
Today I’m going to talk about two extremes, one is bad and the other is great. It’s a bit long winded but, in my opinion, really exposes how important it is to just spend a couple of extra minutes talking through a customers concern because it may help both parties in the long run.
About a month ago I brought my lawn mower in to be serviced at a place that we’ve used for three years, now. We really don’t like it but it is a “mom and pop” shop and I’m always for giving business to those kinds of businesses if at all possible. The reasons we didn’t like it were many but I’ll mention a few.
They are S-L-O-W! SO slow. Their book keeping is dismal. They never knew when they were working on something or who it belongs to. It’s a small and dirty shop. Once they actually DID the work it was usually right, so THAT part was good. But to have something take over a month to service is just unacceptable. Yet, we brought our mower there three times and our weed eater there once.
Then, last summer around the end of August, our mower began running very sluggish, not able to get through the simplist of grass. So, of course, I brought it in. They said it would be two weeks before they could even LOOK at it! OK, call me with the results. After three weeks they called me and told me what the problem was. I told them to go ahead with the repair (it was about 100 bucks). Now we are into October and I want to get one more good mowing done before winter sets in. Still not done. Waiting for a part. By November, I stopped calling.
They called at the end of November to tell me that the mower was completed. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
So, this spring, I went in to pick up the mower. It was around early May. I half expected them to tell me, since I didn’t pick it up, they got rid of it, but that wasn’t the case. I paid for it, took it home and started catching up with the grass. In June, there seemed to be a problem with the choke. So, I naturally brought it in to my very (least) favorite shop. What they told me was the last straw.
Since it was a choke issue from before I thought maybe the new problem was related. I wanted them to take a look at it just in case there was something I wasn’t doing right, or the problem was simple, or maybe they didn’t do something right when putting it back together or something. I JUST wanted them to take a look at it. Honestly, I felt they should know this mower inside and out since they just had it for NINE MONTHS!
The man behind the counter said to check it in and they would look at it and let me know what the problem was. I asked how long that would take and he said they were 2-3 weeks out. I said, “you can’t just take a quick look at it now?” And he retorted, “no, it’s 2-3 weeks for me to do that.”
There were a couple of other people in the area at the time, including one of their suppliers, and so I told him that we have only used this shop in the past but if it’s really going to take aNOTHER 2-3 weeks this time then they had just lost a customer. The people that were there glanced up from what they were doing but all of the employees just watched me walk out the door. Apparently, they have such a strong customer base that they can afford to lose people because they just watched me walk out the door.
I was floored. In all of my years as a customer service expert I have never seen something like that. I will never go back in there and I make sure to tell everyone I know about the experience. Suffice it to say, this is the “NOT” part of this post.
Well, I still had a mower that didn’t work. So, I drove about a block up the road to another shop, about the same size, but MUCH cleaner. I got out of my truck and approached the steps to the door when an employee came out to greet me, shook my hand and said, “welcome, what can we do for you?” (See, from one extreme to the other.)
I explained my situation and he said, “let’s have a look.” We took the mower out of the back of the truck and to my surprise, and embarrassment, I had been using the choke backwards so that’s why it didn’t start. He pulled the cord and it started right up. My fault, my error, my bad, but that’s all the other place had to do as well and they didn’t seem interested enough to even do that. No charge and no wait and I drove back with my mower working just fine.
I thanked him profusely and told him he had a new customer and even explained my experience from the other place to him. He wasn’t surprised as he had heard it before from other people. Who knows, that might be why he opened his business in close proximity to the other place.
This is an emphatic “HOT” as far as customer service goes. You really MAY not have the time to take that quick look at a problem because you are so backlogged. But if you do nad if it just happens to be a quick and easy solution then you not only don’t add to your backlog but you also have a very happy customer. And if, in addition, you don’t charge for that quick look you’ll likely not only have a happy customer but a customer that will give you free pub which is the best type of advertising in the world.
Tell me your story of a good or bad customer service experience you’ve had and I’ll discuss it in a blog.
Until next time, expect the most and give the most.
Posted by admin - 23/09/09 - 0 comments