Positive Quote: “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates
It is standard for most people and companies to say they value and listen to their customer. Yet, we all have been in situations where the person’s or companies actions spoke volumes; and in the opposite direction.
Have you ever taken a survey for a company where they asked you about your service and you were not pleased? You made clear, descriptive comments and in the box where it says do you want to be contacted, you selected yes….then days, weeks, months, go by and you don’t get contacted. Did they really care what you thought, or was the survey just a way for them to check a box saying, yes, we survey our customers. In cases like this, to me, the silence is a response. Silence can be a negative response.
Have you ever had a bad experience with either service or a product and the person at the company you spoke (emailed) to made excuses and either refused to help touting policy or tried to blame the negative experience on your actions (somehow)?
I have had both types happen to me and in each case, I left with a sour taste in my mouth, with the main thought that that company would no longer receive my business.
For example, when my children were 8 and 12, my husband and I traveled from NC to Atlanta, GA to visit his family. As my children aged, I tried to look for hotels with 3 beds in one room. Typically, this would be 2 Queens and a roll out sofa. Finding such a room can be difficult. I was able to locate a room that fit our needs at a major hotel chain. We checked in after a 5 hour drive, went to dinner, and slept. The next morning, we left bright and early (after breakfast) to have a day of visiting. When we got back to the hotel in the evening, the door to our room was open. It had that silver, triangle lock thing turned in so the door was not closed all the way. Of course we were hesitant to go in, we called the front desk to report the issue and after verifying no one was in the room, we went in to check if anything was missing. Thankfully, nothing was.
However, what shocked us was the response of the hotel staff. They informed us it was our fault, that we left the door that way and that there was no issue on their part. After talking to 3 people at the hotel and getting nowhere, not even a room change, I called the corporate number for the chain. Two phone calls later, I was passed around and informed that each hotel was a franchise owner’s responsibility and that they would decide what action to take. I explained, I was not looking for them to not charge me, I was willing to pay all charges for the room. I did not want a free night, at that point all I wanted was someone, anyone to apologize and be accountable. A simple, I’m sorry, it looks like when housekeeping cleaned the room, they were pulled away thinking to go back and forgot… something.
At this point, knowing I was not getting anywhere and deciding that I could not let this continue to negatively impact me, I dropped it. We moved on. Everyone was safe, sound, and secure, and we did not lose any valuables. However, based on that one interaction, we have not stayed at any hotel’s run by that brand in the 3 years since. Even it they ran an ad for a free everything, we would not stay.
I apologize for my tangent.
However, that (and other) experiences continue to teach me (and reinforce) that every customer’s feedback is valuable. Even the little things, like someone not liking the format of the email you send. In each case, communicating with the customer ad listening to why they are not satisfied goes a long way in them leaving with a better taste in their mouth. You may not change how things are done, you may not reinvent the wheel, and you may not even turn them into raving fans. However, you can make a positive impression by listening, being empathetic, and most of all, showing you value their input.
How does this quote speak to you?
Have a terrific Tuesday.