Some thoughts on Customer Care
I was browsing old posts on my Over Forty Shades blog and found this one and thought it would be worth using as a basis for a blog post here. I had been talking about customer care, or the lack of it in certain situations.
Although the examples I used in the original post happened a while ago now, they’re worth repeating. The first one is just an example of excellent, efficient customer care:
Saraband Books held a competition on Twitter, asking people to tweet about Woodlands. I was honoured and delighted that my tweeted haiku won this competition. I was equally delighted by the fact that Saraband sent me a direct message on Twitter immediately asking for my address and congratulating me and telling me when they would post out my prize. I was even more delighted when the prize (a copy of the wonderful Woodlanders book, which I reviewed on Crafty Green Poet) arrived the next day.
Now of course, sometimes things go wrong and it’s how you deal with that, that matters:
I had entered a Hollywood Haiku competition on Best for Film, which asked for haiku reviews of films. I sent in two haiku and was annoyed when the second one bounced back! I left a comment in their blog and within a few minutes I’d received a reply asking me to send my entry to an alternative email address, which I did. Then later that day they’ve emailed all contestants, apologising for the bounced emails, extending the deadline to 23 May and assuring us all our future entries to the competition will reach the organisers!
So those are two examples of good customer care, unlike:
The publisher who shall remain nameless who held a competition on Twitter, which I won, but even six weeks later, after a reminder via Twitter and an email direct to the company, still had not only not sent my prize, but they didn’t even communicate with me at all! Similarly, the publisher who held a competition, which I won, but they had run out of copies of the book I had chosen as a prize. They emailed me to offer an alternative, but have not been in touch since I chose an alternative!
The environmental organisation in Scotland, who shall remain nameless, who contacted me to say they were so pleased that my Crafty Green Poet blog drives a considerable amount of traffic to their website, that they would reward me with a substantial free gift. They then did not communicate with me at all, despite me asking them for clarification. I’d linked to their website with no thought other than visitors to my blog would enjoy their site and their charity, and never expected to receive anything in return. Now however I have begun to feel antagonistic to this organisation, because their customer care is so poor.
Then of course there is the utility company which constantly makes errors with our account. Their customer care is excellent, in terms of politeness and efficiency of staff dealing with the calls. However, although as I said above, things do go wrong, it would be better all round in a case like this, if the utility account operated smoothly, with no need for constant complaints to the customer care department, no matter how nicely they’re dealt with!
The moral of the story is that if you want to offer a gift or a prize then you make very sure that you actually deliver on your promises otherwise you risk annoying people and losing customer goodwill. If you find you have made a promise you can’t keep for whatever reason, then get in touch to apologise and explain why you can’t fulfil your promise, that way you may disappoint someone but at least they will admire your honesty!
As ever, bold text contains hyperlinks that take you to other web-pages where you can find out more.