I have been in customer service for a few decades now. In fact, if you are in business – especially a business of your own – you are in customer service too; whether you realize it or not. There is a wrong way to provide customer service, and then there is internet network marketing customer service done right. This isn’t going to be one of those “The Customer is Always Right” articles. To be perfectly honest, the customer isn’t always right. In fact, many times the customer is absolutely wrong. But it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that something has gone terribly wrong in the world of customer service.
Let me tell you about my customer service experience today. It has absolutely nothing to do with internet network marketing, but the lessons are global.
My car broke down yesterday, so I called a local service provider, arranged for them to tow my vehicle, and then waited for a phone call today to give me an estimate and a prognosis. I finally called them around noon to ask for an update. The gal at the service desk tried to page the service manager, but didn’t get a response. She asked for my name and phone number and said she would call me back.
When she called back, she again asked for the make and model of my vehicle. She then asked me what color it was. I paused… then asked, “Are you telling me you can’t find my car?” She proceeded to tell me that their tow truck driver said they didn’t tow in any vehicles yesterday. I assured her that the tow truck had their company name on the side of it. She said she hadn’t actually “walked the lot” to see if my car was there yet, they were swamped and have had several mechanics out due to illness, even the tow truck driver had gone home sick. I told her that I had been sick too. But, that didn’t change the fact that I needed my car repaired. She said she would call me back.
So, what’s wrong with this picture?
Customer Service Tip 1: Never give the customer a reason to worry about their possession, product, or service. There was absolutely no excuse to call and ask me for information I had already provided in my initial phone calls. Surely someone there knew something about my car. “Walking the lot” before placing a call that makes you look like a total idiot would always be the better choice.
Three hours later, I still hadn’t received a call from the mechanic, so I called back. The gal at the service desk said that he must not have any news if he hadn’t called. I said I’d like to speak with him anyway and get an update. When the mechanic came on the line, he told me they had to push my vehicle into the shop to look at it, but they hadn’t had a chance to determine what was wrong. He said that the engine was revving when they started it. Yes, I knew that. That was why it was there. That, and the little problem of the gear shift being stuck between park and reverse which I believed might be connected to the odd revving of the engine. He proceeded to tell me that the gear lever wasn’t stuck. They had put it in gear when they drove my vehicle into the bay to look at it. I paused… then said, “I heard you had to push it into the shop.” He asked me who had told me that. I paused… then said, “You did just a moment ago.” He apologized, said they worked on about 40 cars each day. He couldn’t keep all the details straight. I asked when my car would be ready, and he said there were several cars in front of mine, so they might not get to it at all today. Interesting, since my car had been there since yesterday.
So, what’s wrong with this picture? What’s right with it might be an easier question to answer. But, for starters…
Customer Service Tip 2: Communication is key. Don’t make your customers call you. If you said you would call, call. Even if it’s just to say you don’t have anything to report yet. This goes hand-in-hand with…
Customer Service Tip 3: Make sure you get your facts straight. Your customer doesn’t care how overworked you are, or how many of your employees are out sick. Your customer cares about his or her needs. Each phone call added to my feeling that these people just didn’t know what they were doing.
Customer Service Tip 4: Make it right. Mistakes happen. Sometimes even the best of us blow it. For now, I’m homebound for the weekend, because the service center won’t be open again until Monday. I will be calling them first thing Monday morning to make sure my vehicle hasn’t been “misplaced” again, or isn’t at the end of the list to be worked on. It is unlikely I will use this particular service center again unless they redeem themselves on Monday by making it right. What would that look like? Either a nice discount on whatever work is required to get my car running and back to me before the end of the day. Or perhaps some extra service that is done free of charge. Or perhaps both.
In today’s marketplace, the customer may not always be right, but the customer has a lot of options. If you want to have a healthy, thriving internet network marketing business, you need to make sure your customer service is done right. Remember to relieve your customer’s worries; communicate; deal with facts; and if you mess up, make it up.