Give customers a great experience. Don’t screw stuff up. Treat your best customers like insiders. Say thank you.
These are just a few of the tips for improving customer loyalty found in a recent Entrepreneur.com post. Being thoughtful with customers isn’t really that hard, is it? Well, maybe it is.
Case #1: A company that gets hostile when customers don’t do what it wants them to do.
I wanted to let a magazine subscription lapse. Months ahead of the renewal date, the company emailed me with alarm that the credit card they had on file was about to expire and they could not automatically renew. There was no place to share my intent so I did nothing. Two more stern emails said, “Susan, We Have a Problem” (complete with unnecessary capitalization). And yes, they did have a problem, being unable to automatically renew my subscription with a charge to my card. It wasn’t my problem.
I did reply to the email, suggesting they offer an option to let a subscription run out rather than scold and harass me. Despite a “Customer_Service@[errant company]” address, the email bounced. In tiny print at the bottom of the original note – and I am not making this up – was this line:
“Please note: This e-mail was sent from an automated address that cannot reply to incoming e-mail, including customer service inquiries.”
Case #2 and 3: Companies that quietly move locations without directly letting customers know ahead of time.
This happened with a local store where both my mother and I had bought prescription glasses. Our phone numbers and addresses were on file, yet we found out the store was closing from a sign in the already-closed store.
A spa where I’ve had manicures, pedicures, massages and more isn’t closed yet, but it will be soon. They definitely have my contact information, and even my birth date, because they used to send me a card offering 10% off any services bought during my birthday month. Yet they didn’t call or send me a note either; I heard about the closing from a friend.
Why do you think it’s so hard? Money? Thoughtlessness? Too busy? Too clueless?
Sue, I feel your pain. The “no reply” email address for customer service is ridiculous and yet we encounter it — and the other situations you’ve described — on a regular basis. With myriad communication tools at their disposal, you’d think companies would be getting better at service, not worse. Sigh.
And here we thought this was the age of excellent customer service, with companies like Zappos trying their best to wow us. As you say, sigh. Thanks for commenting.
Not to mention the absurd disregard for customers who might actually want to, oh my god, TALK to a service person on the telephone. “Your call is important to us…blah, blah…” The amount of time I waste listening to awful recorded music…it makes me mad.
Well said and so true. I think telecommunications firms are some of the worst offenders for not having a clear means or contact for “cancelling” a service. When I worked for one, I helped friends (and friends of friends) find a live person to address their concerns. Mind you, I let a magazine lapse about six months ago and the emails are escalating..
Oh, yes, “Your call is important to us”! You would laugh if you didn’t have to stay on the line long enough that you want to weep. And finding a live person is getting harder all the time. The “service” I really despise is the automated system where you have to give one-word direction to a robotic voice.