How can a bad customer experience with Shaw Cable go from good to “WTH?” Answer: pretty quickly. Recently, I had a bad service experience with Shaw Cable where a bill I received was three times the amount I thought it was going to be. There was bad communications and bad in-store engagement and when it was all said and done, I got a blog out of it. That was Chapter One. Now this is about Chapter Two.
Well this is interesting. Over the course of writing this blog in the last four years, there have been a few occasions where businesses have responded to posts, whether they were good or bad. I love hearing from a business to get their side of the story. Maybe the customer remembered things incorrectly or had emotion blind their description of the event? Who knows, but it’s always more balanced to hear from both sides. A few months ago, Kris Constable guest posted about his experience at Victoria, BC’s XS Cargo store. You can read the full story at the link but the long story short is that he had tried to return a camera and his interaction with the manager didn’t go very well.
What’s really vital to any customer service experience is the response from the businesses when things go bad. Do they respond? How do they respond? Well, XS Cargo did respond, twice – first in the comments to the blog and then through an email. With permission from Kris, here’s both exchanges.
“It’s not my job.” “They’re not in my section.” “I don’t know.” “They’re not going to buy anything.” – Ever hear one of these excuses from your staff or from a business you’re trying to work with? It should never be about what you can’t do, but rather what you can do.
Customer Service Carpe Diem! – Take every opportunity, every day, to make your customers and potential customers happy.
If it worked for Robin Williams in Dead Poet’s Society, it can work for your business. It could be something small – A coffee shop owner smiling at a student doing homework, a mechanic suggesting a fuel efficiency tip or a theatre manager mentioning a movie coming soon. These aren’t hard. These aren’t bits of knowledge you don’t have or effort you can’t make. It’s amazing how much these little touches mean to customers and help to build personal relationships between your business and them. Customers return to businesses they care about so you should take any chance to care about them first.
I recently sat in a pub…where I sat…and sat some more. Not one waitress or bartender came by to say hello, take my order or to inform me that my server wasn’t on shift yet. Did they see me? Of course they did. I made eye contact with 3 separate staff members but not one acknowledged my existence. Thankfully I don’t rely on bar staff for my self esteem. Any one of them could have taken a drink order, dropped off menus, or asked if I needed anything. Hell, any one of them could have smiled. Opportunity, wasted.
Now as to those statements I led with…
- It’s not my job – Either find someone who’s job it is or help as best you can. You’re reflecting the entire company and this attitude is another way of saying “your company can’t be bothered.” A customer doesn’t care if it’s your job or not, they just want help
- They’re not in my section. – You all work for the same company. Engaging here may leave such a great impression that they ask for you next time.
- I don’t know. – You’re not expected to know everything, but you are expected to go find out. It’ll make you more knowledgeable and it’ll make the customer know you care.
- They’re not going to buy anything. – Sure, they might not…this time. But a great impression will either put you to the top of the list of places to buy from or inspire them to tell everyone they know to visit your business.
If you want to be a successful business, large or small, it’s important to look for any moment you can find to engage. I’m not suggesting you smother them with kindness (we have moms for that) but rather add value to the experience. Little extra effort, big impact. Your cash register will thank you for it.
I recently had a Twitter discussion regarding those who judge good or bad customer service and/or food based on one visit. This all stemmed from a tweet by local bakery Bubby Rose’s Bakery. I’ve included the tweet below:
So, as a critic, am I being too harsh on businesses by judging them on my initial experience? If I had a bad experience at your business, should I be thinking: “you know, maybe the employee was having a bad day and I really should give them another chance.”
It’s not up to the customer’s level of patience and understanding to determine if your service was crap. The fault lies with the business. If you can’t provide good to great service every single time, you need to rethink your approach. There is far too much competition out there for my money, for me to make excuses for your bad behaviour.
Like the Head & Shoulders Shampoo slogan from the 80s, You never get a second chance to make a first impression. And it is true, something may bring your customers back after a so-so experience – good food, great atmosphere or that desired “second chance” that Bubby Rose talked about. But truthfully, if you don’t impress right out of the gate, there’s no reason for your customer to return.
The only difference between me and the others that aren’t happy with their initial visit…I have a blog. They just quietly don’t come back.
I’ve noticed a disturbing trend recently. It’s upsetting, uncomfortable and down right uncalled for. Yes, that’s right – the awkward upsell.
I’m behind a lady who is asked by the cashier if she found everything she was looking for (little late to ask that if she’s ready to pay now) and if she’s interested in chocolate coins or lip balm, their “special feature” today (FYI – “special feature” doesn’t mean it’s on sale, it usually just means they have too many of something and want to get rid of it. Applies to restaurants too). The cashier recited her script and sounded like she was saying it because management told her to.
I’m up next. I have laundry detergent, some scrub brushes and paper towels (I’m a clean guy). Without missing a beat, the cashier goes into her messaging, “everything found OK? Want some chocolate and lip stuff?” Did she look at what I bought? Obviously not.
What do you think the impression I had leaving the store? Do you think I left that store thinking, “Wow, thank goodness she highlighted those chocolate coins. Obviously with all my cleaning supplies, I had a hankering for some sweet cocoa?” Not so much. Just a feeling of sadness for the cashier for being forced to mime that crap.
I’m a fan of the upsell. Obviously, I named my blog after it. But the ultimate upsell is good customer service, not a script you tell everyone so no one feels special.
How it should go – “Doing some cleaning? Did you notice we have window cleaner on special until tomorrow?” It’s relatable to what I’m already buying. It doesn’t seem out of place. It’s conversational and engaging, not forced.
People want to talk to and buy from people, not zombies droning on with pre-rehearsed babble they have to tell everyone…especially when customers have heard it twice already from the two interactions ahead of them.
Treat a person like a person, not a number with an opportunity for a sale.
Oh, and no lip balm. Thanks.
My dad recently signed up for Shaw Cable’s plethora of TV options. The PVR, the HD, the Movies on Demand, the blah blah…so he’s getting used to dealing with not only the new technology but the new service departments that go along with it.
Last Saturday was UFC 121 and the family was really looking forward to a night of fights (Hey, that rhymes. You can use it, I’m sure I just created that saying). My dad did what he needed to do for pay per view only to realize he’d rather have it in high definition. So he signed up for that as well. Would Shaw notice that he had signed up for the same event in different formats? It’s not like he could/would watch both.
Better safe than sorry, he called Shaw service to explain that he’d like to cancel one. You would think that wouldn’t be a big deal. You would. The service operator’s response: “we’ve noticed you’ve done this before so I’ll do it one more time for you but next time we’ll charge you.” What now?!
1) My dad is a pretty smart guy and if he’d done it before it probably happened months prior. Not on a regular basis.
2) My dad hadn’t even seen the event yet. It’s not like he was calling after the fact to not pay for a service he’d seen.
So my dad asks for a correction to a mistake and his response from Shaw Cable is a threat? Here’s where the cable company misses the point. My dad doesn’t have a love for them. If they had tried to charge him, he not only would have canceled his service with Shaw (that’s months of lost funds, including future UFC pay per views. Take that “no contract”) but he would have told everyone he’d ever meet to go with a rival company. Is that what you want Shaw?
Here’s a question Shaw: Does it cost you anything to cancel a service?
Here’s another question: In comparison, how much does it cost to lose a customer?
Work with me, not against me. With the amount of competition out there, companies don’t have a power position in their customer relationship. Truthfully, they never did. Take note, build a positive relationship with your customers or they’ll use that power to go somewhere else.