Customer complaint – a good story

I just want to tell a good story, everyone hears the bad ones so here’s a change.

I purchased a brand new dinning table set (including 8 chairs) from Harvey Norman Furniture store, Moore Park, Sydney.   As there were none in stock on the floor or with the importer, we needed to wait about two weeks for delivery.

We received a call the day before delivery confirming the delivery date/time would be OK.  The delivery happened as scheduled, then a week later – after I sold my original table and chairs – I started to assemble everything.

Assembling these items was easy.  After completing the table, the first couple chairs were great then it all went downhill, the screws would not take the thread and when they did they tended to strip – I tried too hard with the allen key.  So I find there is a fault with the product, next task was to ring the retailer and see what they would do – I was waiting for some form of excuse or pass-off.

Well to my surprise I put through to a person in the store that checked up my details on the computer so I did not need to go find the invoice. I explained my dilemma, he understood the product and my issue.  He took my details and said he would pass the information on to the Importer.

Within an hour of the above conversation, a person from the Importer called, discussed the issue and arranged a date for a person to come and rectify the situation.

Reviewing why I ended the day a happy(ier) customer:

  1. My call was answered promptly
  2. I spoke to someone that understood my issue, then advised me what would be happening to get the problem fixed
  3. I received a very quick followup from the Importer, who again listened and understood the issue then offered a time to fix and why that day would be good (for them) asking if that was OK.
  4. After going this far with positive action I felt under no compunction to request a another date. They helped me so I could help a little too.

This is how all relationships should work when there is a quality problem – it is not that hard.  It also means you may just have someone say good things about your company one day.  Does your company perform like this – all the time or occasionally ?

Please note: I am not in any way associated with the Store or the Importer.

Service Standards

Ask anyone providing a service to customers.  They will tell you that they understand the concept of   “the customer is always right”  and the customer is the most important person/company to their business  and they consider themselves customer centric.

But realistically, the intent may be there but in practice it often gets lost. Part of the problem are the vagaries, Who really is a customer? What standards have we set? What can a customer expect from us?  What is our commitment to the customer? Who do we direct a customer complaint to?

All these questions should have an answer and there may be generic or function specific answers.  More importantly every employee should know the answer (and where to find it).

Has YOUR company produced a Customer Service Charter. A document informing customers AND staff of the standards for the relationship.  Having one not only ensures the customer is informed but it also means there is a defined direction and protocols in dealing with customers.  This is not an onerus task but it does have many benefits.

If you don’t have one, try draw one up for your own company/function?  Aimed at the relevent level, it should contain:

  1. An introduction
  2. Your Mission
  3. The Outcome (or Goal)
  4. Your Values
  5. Your Commitment to the Customer
  6. How Customers can provide feedback
  7. How Customers register a complaint

Staff now have something to work with, customers also get that warm fussy feeling knowing that you are not only professional but also considerate in the service you provide  – you have formalised a way of LISTENING to them.

I am available if you would like some assistance in reviewing your needs and requirements.

Cheers
Mark