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How do You Know if Your Customer Service Sucks?

20 Dec How do You Know if Your Customer Service Sucks?

By Paul Barrs.

Let me ask you a question… a simple question –

Have you ever experienced a moment of bad customer service? Do you remember it?

I know I have, and I know I do. Let me explain…

Start Customer Service Nightmare 101 –

It was about 3 in the afternoon, yesterday. Quite hot and I was second in line. OK, no problems so far – if I were 15th in line I might not have been too happy. However, I wasn’t at the checkout where most of us associate “lines in waiting”, but rather I was at my local bike store picking up a front wheel for my push-bike that had been in for repair.

Standing in line before me was a pleasantly attractive 40 something lady who, without any doubt, *knew* how to dress to impress. Outside the front of the shop was a late model Mercedes sporting a single name registration plate – a lady’s name. As we waited, I asked if it was hers to which she replied a confirmation.

“Very Nice”, I said, drawing a smile from her. Beyond the service counter that we were waiting at I saw a young man looking slightly bewildered coming back up to the counter. I turned to my new friend and asked, “What have you lost?”

“My bike”, she said. “They’ve found one, but I put two in.”

I was almost sure that I hadn’t heard correctly, after all, she had the service ticket stub in hand.

Let’s talk a moment about bad customer service….

Then the service assistant looked towards her, “What colour was your bike again?”

After a few more moments of scattered looking around another man came up, this time he was, looked wiser, and I thought perhaps was the service manager. He asked, “What seems to be the problem?” Again the beautifully calm and collected Mercedes lady before me recited her plight.

At this point I was stunned. This ‘manager’ replied with some quip like, “Well, not everything works out… does it.” Plainly he didn’t care, or at least he didn’t ‘show’ any care. I couldn’t believe she was so calm.

An opportunity for Customer Service 101.

Meanwhile, a different staff member approached me. I told him that I was there to pick up my front wheel, I handed him my service ticket and watched as he walked once around the workshop and then came back to the counter empty handed.

“What’s it look like?” He asked.

?? Huh?

“Ummmm.” I paused. How do you answer such a question? “It’s a wheel. It’s round. It’s got a tyre on it.”

“Yeah, but what’s it look like?” He asked me this like I was dyslexic.

Another opportunity for good customer service goes out the window….

I pointed towards one of the hundred or more bikes in the shop. “Like that one, except it’s just the wheel.”

He looked towards the bike and then back to me. I guess I had two heads. “Yeah, but what colour is it?”

I scanned the workshop – all 100 plus wheels (which were all attached to bikes) were silver stainless steel. I couldn’t see any difference in colours at all, and so I told him.

He went off in search again and after a moment found it – it was directly behind the counter all the time.

Then yet another fellow came up and took me to the cashier for payment. My Mercedes friend was still waiting patiently wondering what had happened to her lost bike.

Sigh. It leaves me wondering. I’m tempted in jest to simply say W.T. – ? Such appalling service really has no place in today’s business world. And unfortunately this is not an isolated incident. I can easily recall two more similar stories of such gross incompetency from previous months. And the thing is, it’s not that hard to do. All it takes is a good attitude and good training.

Though when it comes to online business and customer service, in particular the micro business sector, the troubles are magnified ten-fold! Too many people think that because they can hide behind a glazed computer screen that they can treat their customers almost with contempt. Oh yes, don’t get me wrong, if it’s a paying customer, they’ll be treated like gold!

But if that customer has a ‘problem’ that goes beyond the ‘paid value’ of whatever purchase they had made, God help them, because the website owner sure won’t. There’s even a new trend these days among ‘up-and-coming’ net business people to write into their sales copy that …

“Refunds will not be accepted within the first 3 days because …”

Huh? OK, I get the argument that they are worried about a new trend of buyers that are called “serial refunders”. I get that. Fine. So ban them and get on with business, or change the registration process for your product.

That’s not customer service, that’s shyster!

Meanwhile, get back on with providing service, and not just good service; but awesome brilliant exceptional service! Just because the 90’s buzz-words of “everyone’s doing” it have gone, doesn’t mean that such is still true.

I’m sure my Mercedes lady is still waiting for someone to find her lost bike… as well as some customer service!