Customer Service: Small Businesses Have an Edge
At my company VerticalResponse, we're going through a rewrite of all of our customer service processes so that our customers can get what they need easily and effectively. This includes details like how many numbers they have to press on the phone to get to the proper people, the voice and tone we use when speaking with customers and how quickly we can get issues resolved to keep people happy and satisfied with our service.
I think small businesses have a definite advantage over the big guys because they can really own their customer experience. As a small business we still have control over how we handle situations, without a lot of red tape or corporate bureaucracy.
In fact just the other day, Justin, a Customer Support Manager, instant messaged me and said, "Hey JP, there's a guy on the phone who said he talked to you and you said to take care of him." I said, "Yep Justin, we need to take care of a customer who wants to do biz with us." Bottom line: If someone wants to do business with you and your company, do everything you can to try to follow through and make them happy because you can.
Learn From This Horror Story
In a related story, my friend Chuck recently purchased two TVs, one 70" and one 42" from a company I'll call Worst Purchase. Sadly the 42" arrived cracked. Bummer. It happens, and amazingly after a 10 minute call the Worst Purchase customer support rep said "no problem, we can come get it and replace it today." Great! But alas, that promise never happened. And that lead to:
- Call 2: 30 mins, multiple times on hold, Worst Purchase promises to call Chuck back. Never happened.
- Call 3: 30 mins, multiple times on hold, get to a manager, Chuck tells them that he'll refuse the charge and he will buy from another vendor. They say we'll call you back. Never happened.
- Call 4: 30 mins, Chuck talks to a manager and tells them he's never buying from them again (after he's purchased many thousands of dollars from them) and he tells them they're going to have a chargeback. They didn't seem to care.
- Chuck calls AMEX and tells them to chargeback the item.
So after Chuck spent hours trying to keep the relationship going, Worst Purchase's process failed them and they lost a customer for life.
Have you examined your customer service process lately? Is it serving your company and your customers? Why not give your own company a call and see for yourself!