Thursday, May 25, 2006

Respect your customers - PLEASE!!!

As we get closer to reconnecting with our many friends and business colleagues around the world next week I have had time to reflect a lot about the almost 6 weeks of hell that we have experienced due to Wanadoo.

I have begun writing an article about customer care … or more accurately the total lack of customer care in 2006. What does customer care actually mean today?

This article will obviously be informed largely by my recent experience with Wanadoo but also informed by a trend I have definitely noticed in the last year or two as a customer in all aspects of my life.

It just seems to me that:

1 Some organisations ‘get it’ and they deliver phenomenal customer care. I of course tell all my contacts.

2 There are those ‘other’ organisations where I experience ‘crap’ customer care and I tell all my friends and business associates about them too.

I cannot understand ANY organisation in 2006 that does not place customer care on top of their agenda.

It is so obvious why that is important. Namely that we live in a world where information crosses the planet in nano-seconds and in my opinion a ‘bad’ customer experience travels far more quickly than a good one across the ‘virtual’ world.

Organisations that bury their head in the sand and do not have a pro-active approach to customer care will go under. There is nothing more certain than that. And they deserve it.

Good organisations do not need to be told how to do customer care properly – they do it as part of their culture.

Bad customer care reflects a bad organisation.

Yes I do believe it is that simple.


Steve Sherlock said...

Trevor, here, here!

If only it were as easy to fix. Then of course, some of us might not be working. But we'd find other things to do, I'm sure.

How do we get companies to change their customer support policy?

Deny them the one thing they are looking for? Money. We walk away. We talk away others from going there. The word spreads. Customers and potential customers will avoid them.

The company will (1) either be forced to listen or (2) end up short of money and out of business.

Sometimes a long and painful process to pull off, but you know, they companies that don't get it deserve to get treated this way.

Dmitry Linkov said...

That's it Trevor, but as Steve mentioned - easy sad than done.

Poor customer service comes from lack of good employees. And here in Moscow it's a HUGE problem. There are a few companies with good services and bad services is something like a standard.

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks Steve and Dmitry

The bottom line for me is simple

Do people ‘love’ what they are doing or are they doing it just as a job.

The best examples of customer care I ever come across are always from people who obviously enjoy what they do.

I genuinely believe modern methods of communication such as e-mail and Blogs offer us dissatisfied customers to have a real impact on improving 'bad' standards of customer care in 'bad' organisations.

Going out of business will be deserved in my view for those companies that do not ‘love’ and listen to their customers.

Marilyn Jess said...

Coming from the healthcare setting as you did I can see your view and I agree. In the rural area where I live it would be easy for healthcare providers to assume that poor service will be tolerated because of access issues. Not so. Consumers are turning in droves to alternative sources, paying out of pocket just to be heard by someone who cares about what they do.
The difference couldn't be more clear when I left a government regulated healthcare company for the private sector wellness industry last year.
Working with paying customers who appreciate my skills is like night and day. The bottom line is always present and you work hard to delight the customer when you enjoy your work. That we are profiting and thriving makes me want to work there. To thrive companies have to be willing to listen and adapt. That is the area that in my view is most responsible for the downfall of service.

Trevor Gay said...

Excellent story Marilyn and thanks for sharing it. I agree with you.

I considered it an honour and a privelege to be part of the national health service, which after all is responsible for the health of the nation. That is really serving customers! And there can be few greater privileges than that.

I do not think it is too much to expect for people to feel honoured to be providing customer service and to love what they do. Sadly in my experience this is not present now in many settings and my Internet connection problems are a classic example of appalling customer care.

The good news is that I still come across wonderful examples of real care shown to customers – I remain optimistic!