Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Is the Customer Always Right?

I thought I'd touch a bit upon the ever wanted but sometimes elusive concept of Customer Service. We all want good customer service but do we deserve it? Where can we find it? Should customer service go above and beyond, even when the rules are posted?

I've been part of quite alot of forums for a long time and I've seen posts time and time again regarding customer service. Some good and some bad. I've experienced the good and the bad myself. I can tell you that not many of the "big" named companies really do provide good customer service. I've had both experiences with the big named guys. I can also tell you that I have had basically nothing but fantastic customer service from the Indie Etailers that I have bought from. Some even went out of their way to make me happy.

For example....I went into a Subway once..ordered a sub and once eating it saw that I paid $6 for 2 slices of meat. Well, I contacted Subway and informed them of the store and they sent me GC for a free sandwich. Wow, they were fast and they really wanted to see me happy. Another example, my husband and I wanted to buy new and good food storage containers to replace the ones we bought in college. We bought Rubbermaid Stain Savers. They were dishwasher safe in the top rack only..so that's how we washed them. And, we watched over the next few weeks how several of them started to crack and break for no reason. I contacted Rubbermaid and was asked in return to supply Model numbers for each of the ones that cracked for replacement. I did..and never ever heard back from them. I overnighted a letter to the president of the Food Storage division of Rubbermaid..and never heard back. So, I don't buy Rubbermaid products anymore. If they can't back their product or at least have the decency to contact me then I can't waste my money or time on their product. Some big names have good customer service and others do not.

But, when is a complaint too much of a complaint? Is there a limit to what you can give as far as customer service goes? For example, recently Sprint decided to "fire" certain customers because Sprint felt that there was no way that Sprint could serve these peoples' needs. Apparently, these "customers" complained constantly about the service..so Sprint simply let them go. No more complaints and the customers had no one to complain to anymore. Sprint took a huge chance in doing this as they, of course, lost business and money. But, maybe they are right, you can't please all of the people all of the time. And, if nothing Sprint did ever made these people happy, then they should go ahead and look for another service company. I actually applaud Sprint for this daring act.

I actually worked in retail for a good portion of my life. I know how hard it can be to give perfect customer service all the time. Sometimes, you're having a bad day or you don't feel 100%..other times there are those customers who just don't know how to act or how to follow any rules. Most stores, including online ones, give the rules for returns, shipping etc up front. Walk into any Target or Best Buy and right behind the customer service desk is a BIG sign telling you all the rules for any and all returns. Yet, there are customers that will still try to return that opened DVD for their money back and not an exchange. There will still be that customer who is returning an obviously USED item or the customer who is returning something that is over a year old (isn't 90 days enough time for you to figure out if you want it or not?). And, most etailers also have their return, shipping etc. information on their websites..I recommend you read before you buy so you know what to expect. But, there are those of us who choose not to read the rules and expect that the store will always honor the "Customer is always right" rule. Well, I think that the customer is not always right.

If you're going to complain, make sure it is legitimate and meaningful. If it's something that is truly important to complain about (hello there's a hair in my body butter, I got the wrong item, I haven't gotten my items, I received a body part) then do it. Don't make a mountain out of a mole hill. If it's a small issue that is truly no affecting your life, you can mention it as a constructive criticsm, for example, "I got my order and love the body wash, it's fantastic! I was wondering if you realized though that the labels are not waterproof? Mine wasn't and I just thought you might want to know. Keep up the great work!"

Make sure that you're truthful and as polite as possible. Even if you are mad as hell, the more polite and communicative you are about the issue the more polite and willing to help the re/etailer will be. Make sure you contact the re/etailer, don't vent on a forum. Venting on a forum..I understand you're frustrated...but does it really help resolve the issue: NO. The more adult you are about the situation, the better resolved the situation will be. I've done things both ways, mad as hell and politely..politely works 1 billion times better then mad as hell. Trust me! Venting on a forum can and will make things worse...it just shows the re/etailer that instead of actually contacting them to resolve the issue, you went public and tried to wreck their reputation. No one wants that.

Is the customer always right? I say no. Should the customer always be right? To the best of their ability.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


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