I’ve not written a post like this in a while!
I’ve had a couple of experiences over the last few days that reinforces how customer service and service are not mutually exclusive
You need to get them both right if you want your business to stand out from the rest. This sort of thing is highlighted to me when dealing with larger companies
In my last post I talked about my shiny new HTC Touch 2 Windows Phone. Well guess what, it’s broken 🙁
I was out watching my Sunday football team at the weekend (watching is all I’m doing at the moment as I need a knee operation) and I’d forgotten to charge my phone. By the time I got home the battery was dead so I hooked it up to the charger and left it
When I checked on it few hours later the phone started up and shortly after the home screen was displayed the whole thing locked up. None of the buttons worked nor did the touch screen. I couldn’t even power it off and had to either pop the battery out or press the soft reset button
I performed a hard reset (press both the volume buttons and turn it on) but it was still the same
So the following morning I called T-Mobile and braved their telephone menu system
I spoke to a customer service agent who asked what the problem was
I explained the problem, told her that I’d tried a hard reset and said that the phone was unusable
She asked if the problem occurred in specific menus on the phone or all menus. I said that I couldn’t get into ANY menus. The phone locks up before then
She said ordering a new one shouldn’t be a problem and it would arrive tomorrow. So far so good I thought but it turns out there wasn’t any stock. Service delivery fail!
I needed to know where this put me as I was now without a phone
She seemed surprised at this
“Are you not calling from the phone?”, she said
my perplexed reply was, “No. I’ve already said the phone is unusable”
“You said that the problem only occurred in certain menus”
“No. I said that I couldn’t even get into ANY menus, the phone is unusable”
Customer service fail! You really need to listen to the customer when they are describing a problem
She basically then said I had two options, wait for stock or take it my nearest service centre
I asked where the nearest centre was and she gave me the address before adding,
“If you take it there the repair could take up to 28 days”
Multiple fail! This isn’t doing anything to solve my problem. I have phone I’m paying for and can’t use. Waiting 28 days isn’t really an option I want
She then told me that she would monitor the stock and call me the following day to let me know the phone was dispatched so I’d get it the following day
That was Monday, I didn’t receive a phone call at all on Tuesday so I’m not expecting any phone to show up today.
Yet more fail! If you promise to do something for your customer, make sure you actually do it. If they hadn’t received any stock so I wouldn’t have been getting a phone today, at least keep me informed to that fact!
In contrast I had to take my car to the garage recently. It’s something I always dread as you hear lots of horror stories about people getting ripped off for work that doesn’t need doing.
However, the garage I go to have really good customer service, they did the exactly the work they said they were going to at a reasonable price and even sorted out a problem with car they probably should have charged me extra for
In their reception area they have a notice board full of letters of thanks from previous customers. Recommendations from happy customers are always a good thing to see
What’s the difference between these two companies?
As a small business it’s really something that’s critical. There are tons of garages I could have taken my car to so by making me into a happy customer they get my repeat business. It’s a real differentiator
For big business it’s difficult to keep a high level of service across your whole company, there is also less competition and they all have similar problems
So now I’m off to ring T-Mobile again..that’ll be fun