Posts Tagged ‘customer service’

Happy Legos customer

Just read a great customer service story, sent to me by a buddy. ¬†Thought¬†¬†I¬†would share it with you all, since I have a tendency to bitch and complain about crappy service all the time. ¬†Here’s an example of a BIG company, who “gets” its customers…

The gist of the story, for those of you too busy to read it, is that this little kid spent his holiday money on some Lego product that included tiny figures. ¬†Against his dad’s recommendation, the kid takes the toy out with him, and loses a key figure. ¬†Kid is bummed. ¬†He knows he screwed up. ¬†Dad suggests he contact Lego, and see what, if anything, they can do for him. ¬†

For many companies, this would mean a standard response, saying, “Please send $24.99, and we will send off a replacement piece to you in 3-6 weeks. ¬†Please include $10.00 for shipping and handling. ¬†Have a nice day!”

But the Lego customer service rep was cool. ¬†He knew his customer, and how he felt. He knew the kid’s passion for Lego’s product. ¬†He knew about the background of the product (LEGO Ninjago Ultra Sonic Raider set), and the significance of the lost figure. ¬†And the rep probably could relate to a kid who screwed up, ignoring his Dad’s sound advice (anyone else been there?).

So the rep responded with a very cool email, utilizing characters and lingo from the product, to speak directly to the kid about the importance of always listening to his Dad’s advice,, but simultaneously acknowledging that losing the piece was purely accidental. ¬†So not only did the rep hook the kid up with a replacement piece at no charge, he actually upgraded the kid’s piece, and threw in an additional different piece.

For the rep’s part, the actions taken probably took all of 10 minutes. ¬†Order the replacement piece from Shipping, ask them to throw in an extra goodie, and send the kid an email. ¬†Simple stuff. ¬†Not costly or time-consuming. ¬†But effective? ¬†You bet! ¬†I have no doubt that this kid will be buying Legos for his kids in 20 years. ¬†As will LOTS of other folks who read the story. ¬†

Great customer service does not have to be a huge spectacle. ¬†In fact, the best companies make this kind of treatment and understanding of their customers part of their daily operations. ¬†Most companies, unfortunately, do not. ¬†It’s often the little things that move us from good to great.

 

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Every year, MSN Money polls consumers for the worst and the best companies for customer service.  It always makes for some interesting fodder.

In looking at the bottom 10 service companies, the first thing that jumps out at me is five of them are in banking.  Three out of the remaining five are in cable / satellite TV.  What to make of this?

The first question that comes to mind is, are these crappy companies, or are they in crappy industries?

But the next thing that comes to mind is… opportunity!

IF a banking / credit card company decided to step up and seriously and sincerely make customer service their top priority, they could absolutely clean up! ¬†Same with an enterprising pay TV business! ¬†I mean, you don’t have to be a snarky customer service critic to identify the problems plaguing the businesses in their industries. ¬†Once identified, you make it your business’ top priority to NEVER, EVER DO THESE THINGS.

Am I simplifying things just a bit here? ¬†Of course I am. ¬†But that doesn’t negate the strategy. ¬†I mean, you’ve got to start somewhere. ¬†Why not start where your competitors are falling short? ¬†Customers are sick and tired of the poor service delivered by those companies. ¬†So give them what they want. ¬†Excellent service in historically weak areas.

Sad to see that major banks still don’t “get it” regarding customer service, even when nearly half of the organization is owned by taxpayers after a HUGE bailout. ¬†Arrogance, they name is Lloyds!

The largest bank in the UK receives more than 2000 complaints per day, and rejects, oh, about 90% percent of them. ¬†Now there’s a nifty way of shutting the rabble-rousers up – just ignore ’em! ¬†Hah! ¬†That’ll show those whiners, who are constantly complaining about overdraft charges, and the handling of their accounts and credit cards and insurance products.

A sniveling, affronted representative of Britain’s recently named “worst bank for customer satisfaction” said, “Like every organisation we know there are areas where we can improve and we’re working with our customers to do just that.” ¬†Really? ¬†Who does your PR, the same group that works for BP???

By way of contrast, the Royal Bank of Scotland, while¬†receiving over 1600 complaints daily, satisfactorily resolved 80 percent of them. ¬†¬†No reason was given for this huge disparity. ¬†Just a big “hmmmmmm…”

I touched on this issue regarding US banks in an article back in 2008.  Nice to see I have single-handedly made absolutely no impact in the quality of service in the global banking industry.  Please, hold your applause.  Really.

One would think that in this day and age, where the economy is still like walking on¬†salmonella-infested eggshells, that banks would understand that they are in the “people” business, not the “let’s take as much money as we can” business. ¬†But one would be wrong.

Teachable moment: OK, this is an easy one.  Listen to your customers.  Hear what they are saying.  Act like it means something to you.  Pull your collective head out of your collective behind!  If this many customers are disgruntled with your service, that should tell you something, yes?

Contrary to popular belief, the Angry Customer is not your business’ worst nightmare. Frankly, the Angry Customer can be your business’ best friend. ¬†If you can just get past the snarling, and the whining, and the threats, and the name-calling – charming things, all! – and actually take a minute to figure out what turned your customer into a beast, you may learn something about how to make your business better. ¬†I’m serious!

No one likes to be yelled at, or insulted, or sneered at.  And there are many customers out there who engage in these activities.  True, some of them are just buttheads, and can be dismissed as such.

But not all of them!  Some of these folks are angry with good reason.  Your business has not treated them well. Your business deceived them with inaccurate marketing or advertising.  Your representatives were rude or simply disinterested.  Sometimes, the customer gets angry over something that simply could not have been helped or anticipated, but you got defensive over it, and the situation deteriorated from there.  Most situations like these can be avoided, or at least rectified.

The customer’s anger is simply identifying for you what needs to be changed or improved with your business. ¬†You want a successful business, don’t ya? ¬†Well, stop getting all defensive, and stop arguing with your customers, and stop whining about all the jerks who patronize your business… and start listening to them! The angry customer is giving you some free business consulting! ¬†Take heed.