Volume 14

How many "hands" does your company have?

Are you surprised when you receive good customer service?

Earlier this week I was at the Post Office and I overheard a conversation between a customer and a Post Office employee. The customer's PO Box had been locked for non-payment. The customer told the employee that the payment had been made the previous week, and therefore the box should be unlocked. The employee replied that the customer should bring her receipt in as proof that she had paid. Understandably, the customer was confused by this. She thought that the employee would easily be able to access a report showing her payment, but this was not the case. As I listened to this conversation, I recalled the old adage about the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing and considered how this has impacted customer service in their organization.

As I pondered this interesting example of customer service in action, several other examples sprang to mind:

Recently we applied to a telecommunications provider to install broadband internet in our home. At the time we applied, we used their support email system to let them know about certain services that were in place on our telephone line, and asked if we would need to have them removed. We received an automated email in return indicating that we would receive an answer within 2 working days. A week and a half later we received another automated email telling us that certain services were in place on our line and that we would need to remove them before we could proceed. Obviously the various departments of this organization are not in communication with each other. Although we finally did get our broadband internet, we had to endure a month of unnecessary drama.

A while ago we purchased a new telephone from a large retailer, but they did not have it in stock. They told us that it should be in within the week. After four weeks we called them to find out that they had no idea where it was, and it was another two weeks before we finally received our phone.

At a department store recently I struggled to lift and lever a rather large box (think taller and wider than I am) containing some DIY shelving into my trolley, only to finish, turn around and find an employee watching me.

"Do I have a point, or am I just having a whinge?

I have always said that I would like for once to receive the customer service that I like to give. Last month I met Steven Inwood, a garden landscaper. After my previous encounters with various tradespeople I was cautious about selecting someone to fix our backyard. Steven fulfilled his contract, kept us up to date with any issues, and then went beyond the call of duty and fixed up half our front yard as well.

I find it disturbing that I am surprised when I actually receive good customer service from a company.

I challenge you to ponder how your company provides customer service.

  • Do you have a strategy for providing quality customer service?
  • Do you reply to all enquiries in a timely manner?
  • How many "hands" does your company have? That is, do your various departments communicate with each other to assist your customers?

Quality customer service is not about letting the customer have whatever they like. It is about fulfilling your promises and communicating well with your customers. As an email marketer, you can take the following measures:

  • Ensure that product and pricing information in your email campaigns is accurate.
  • Do research to determine whether your campaigns are actually useful to your customers.
  • Ensure that all departments of your organization are aware of the content of the campaigns that you are running.
  • Don't send campaigns containing offers that you can't supply.
  • Respond to all replies, and unsubscribe and subscribe requests quickly, even if it is just to acknowledge the request and provide an estimate of completion.
  • Ensure that if someone unsubscribes, that they are removed from ALL contact lists in your company.