Over the last 18 months, I have had three very different customer service experiences with equipment returns and repairs. As experiences go, I believe this also had a valuable customer service lesson concealed within them.
When I returned the first piece of equipment after it had started to malfunction, the person on duty that day had absolutely no idea what they had to do. My time was wasted while they phoned around trying to get direction on what to do and I left without the impression of dealing with a professional, but with the promise that they would phone me within a week with feedback. After two weeks had passed I returned to find a different person on duty who had absolutely no information about my returned equipment. Again my time was wasted while they had to phone around and again I left with the promise of a phone call the next day. After another two weeks had passed I returned again to find a familiar face on duty, who still did not have a definite answer for me. After more calling around I was finally given a replacement unit. From start to finish this business didn’t appear to have an effective returns process in place and neither the client nor the employees found it obvious what to do or expect next.
My second experience started with some internet research to find an appropriate repair centre. Based on what I could find, I shortlisted four different options. One had a very user friendly online facility where I could instantaneously obtain a quote. Of the other three; one never answered my call and another left me on hold until they eventually just dropped my call, which easily took me down to just two options. The option with the online quote facility also explained their entire process on their website and their price was the lower one of the two, so they became my final choice. From the moment I had delivered my piece of equipment to them, everything just worked. I was kept up to date via sms on where my equipment was in the repairs process and what I could expect next. From start to finish each step in the process was made obvious to me as the client and it all worked, making them an obvious choice to utilize again in future.
The third experience ended up turning what was originally perceived as excellent customer service, into what resembled entrapment. Again everything worked well from our first encounter. I was kept up to date with what was going on and was even offered some value added services which really left me incredibly impressed. This was until the repairs process had been completed and I was surprised by an invoice for charges that I was never informed of and never agreed to during the process. In this case the employees had become so proficient with their own processes that they thought it was obvious that I would know that these little extras would come at a cost.
These three experiences with three different businesses were a reminder of the importance of making things obvious. Does your company have an effective returns process in place and are all your employees proficient in executing it? Are your customers well informed and kept up to date all the way? Make it obvious for your customers that you are a cut above the rest and you will be their obvious choice when they or one of their friends are in need of your products or services in future.
Click the link below to view the complete A2C Newsflash Volume 2 Issue 44 – Make it obvious