May 25, 2009

Customer Service: Not A Given

Last week I spoke with someone who said his customers don’t know what they want. That statement may be partially true but what he is missing is that his customers’ perceptions are their realities. Like it or not.

If it’s broken to you, it’s broken.
Seth Godin


I had an interesting exchange with my Cable/Internet provider a couple of weeks ago because I miscalculated last month’s bill by $31.59 which garnered a rude call from their collections department.

I have been their customer for more than twenty years and they are on me like dirt over thirty-one bucks. I told the person he had about 15 seconds to convince me not to take my business to the competitor.

His response was underwhelming and I hung up the phone then paid the difference. Twenty years and I am treated like a delinquent. To me, they are broken.

Marketing Is A Promise, Not A Campaign

So all the well thought out marketing and advertising campaigns were tossed out for the sake of a miscalculation. Because I screwed up some math, they broke their promise.

It may be difficult to grasp, but people will often pay more for something that works and something that is superior. Price is not the only deciding factor – remember shareware?

They Solved My Problem

I had a hefty bill recently from my local tire and brake place. It was my fault that I had let it go so long and not their fault that new tires and brakes were $2500. The entire exchange was enjoyable.

As I paid the bill they reminded me to bring my car back every 10,000 miles to get my tires rotated for free and it would be ready as soon as Ralph put it through the car wash. And important to note, the people working in this garage get along well and help each other constantly. You want to give these guys your business.

My perception was not that they tried to gouge me for tires and brakes, my experience made me tell everyone to go there if they ever need their car serviced.

Lessons Learned?

So I am mad at one company for hounding me over $31.59 and happy to promote another company that charged me $2500. By the way, the car drives like new and my hi-speed internet service is still sporadic most days.

Perception is reality and nothing you can do will change that.

Which company best describes your company?

@knealemann

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