Customer Service: Thoughts and Observations

Posted on January 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

Recently I was following a customer service disaster of epic proportions online, and it got me thinking about customer service in general. I recommend giving that article a read, but if you don’t have the time then the long and the short of it is a customer did not receive a product by a  specified date, the customer inquired about it, and the rep essentially berated the customer, eventually threatening to the cancel the customer’s order and then sell the product they pre-ordered on eBay for a profit.  (That’s quite a mouthful there)

As you and I can most likely agree that is unacceptable, and he received quite a backlash once the correspondence went public. Quite deservedly if you ask me, because in my opinion customer service is not tremendously hard.  Let me elaborate a bit.

First off I know some folks (and this probably includes some people that work for P.J. Fitzpatrick Inc as well as our customers) probably wonder what I do.  In fact I’m pretty positive some people think I sit at a desk all day with a list of customers and send them fudge and gift cards. This factors into my job to some extent, but that is not exactly what I do.  My title is Customer Experience Manager and my main job is to ensure every customer that deals with our company has had a pleasant experience, whether they bought their new roof and 50 replacement windows from us or whether they called us once to set up an appointment and then cancelled it because they went with another contractor.  I examine the situation to make sure the replacement customer had the best experience possible in their installation, and that the cancelled appointment customer had a pleasant experience speaking to our call center.  If they did not have a pleasant experience then it is my job to first do what I can to make the situation up to the customer, then examine where the breakdown was that caused the bad experience, cross examine with my notes on similar experiences to make sure it’s not a company wide trend, and then bring the results of the investigation to the company President and any applicable managers.

Does this mean I get yelled at the majority of my day? Some days yes, most days no.  I work for a very good company, our people are well trained and they know what they’re doing.  Do mistakes happen? Yes.  No one is perfect, and things will happen from time to time.  The best part of my job is that our company will always do what is right by our customer.  We may drop the ball on occasion, but we will do our best to pick it up and right the situation every single time.  If you don’t believe me then believe the numbers, we survey nearly every single customer that works with our company. (I’m about 30 days out on surveys at this point, if you are a recent customer and haven’t received one yet don’t worry…we’ll get around to you soon) Right now by my numbers I have a 94% rating in likely to recommend.  I prefer that around 95-96%, but currently that’s only a 6% dissatisfaction rate.  (and that 6% is from surveys given oftentimes before I come into the picture and try to set things right, sometimes the first time we’re aware of issues is from the survey)

My father always emphasized that you just need to do what’s right for the customer, that’s all you need to do.  From our Call Center to our Sales Department to our Production Department, all we need to do as a company to provide excellent service is keep in mind the entire time that we need to do what’s best for the customer.  That’s why I don’t find customer service hard.  The only reason companies like Ocean Marketing fail at customer service is because their goal is to make money, while my father learned years ago that the way to make money is to make sure the customer is happy.  Because then the customer comes back to you, and they tell all their friends.

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