Personal Reflections on Customer Service
I’ve recently gone through three customer service episodes in my personal life that I’ve been reflecting on. Now normally, I don’t think too much about these things outside of work, but these events have stuck with me. And when that happens…I have to blog about it!
Experience #1 – How Not to pass on bad news
An issue popped up with a company that went undetected by many for a couple of months, which resulted in me being past due on an account. The issue was my fault, but how they handled it initially was, to put it bluntly, horrible.
I called to discuss the issue, and the first thing thrown at me was that I was past due on the account, the account was on hold, etc. Not “thank you for being a valued member for 27 years, I do see we have one issue, can we work on resolving it.” They were just in my face about how I screwed up and asking how I was planning on fixing it. Extremely frustrating doesn’t begin to do this episode justice.
Experience #2 – How To Fix Lesson #1
Long story short, after resolving the issue, I was bound and determined to leave that company behind. 27 years of patronage meant nothing – treating me like they did on the first call was something that I wasn’t going to tolerate.
Before I did this however, I wanted to make sure there was nothing else going on that I needed to clear up. I called them back and got the complete opposite treatment – all was well, “we’re sorry for the way you were handled, we’ll resolve the issues we created that stemmed from how we handled it,” and more. I was once again shocked, but this time in a good way – I was treated like an actual valued long-term customer.
Net result – I still work with this company.
Experience #3 – Doing What You Say You’re Going to Do
After a recent work lunch, I returned to my car to find that it wouldn’t start. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with it because the battery appeared to be in good shape (this, by the way, is why I’m in compliance and not an automobile technician…) I called the roadside assistance number, and they gave me excellent service, even nailing down the time when the tow truck would show up to a 15-minute window.
The tow service showed up exactly when they said it would, and in five minutes the tech had figured out the issue. He got the car started and I was able to get to the dealership where they fixed the problem on the spot. I was in and out of the service department in less than an hour, faster than the service team told me I should expect. “We can do it right now, so we’ll just start” was basically how they treated the situation.
What are the lessons here?
1) Treat customers well no matter what, or risk losing them – don’t take them for granted.
2) Acknowledge mistakes and fix them. Own the problem, and resolve it.
3) Do what you say you’ll do, when you say you’ll do it, and you’ll have a very happy customer indeed!
At Assurance, we strive to provide excellent customer service at all times. In compliance, it’s especially important for us, because we’re usually talking about subjects that aren’t the easiest to understand or comply with. While I think we do a pretty good job in this department, there’s always room for improvement.
And perhaps that’s the best customer service lesson of all.
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