Within the last few weeks, several encounters with companies I deal with both professional and personal made me think about what customer service means to the end user. In my opinion, customer service goes beyond providing assistance or advice regarding a product or service. As an end user, I want to know and feel that I am being heard, respected, and valued as a client. Meaning, the company cares about my experience using their product or service.
I recently contacted a company that provides online marketing products. A fellow friend who owns his own business uses this company and I observed the product first hand and expressed an interest in having it for myself. My friend provided the name of the company and I researched the product. The product was and is great, so I proceeded to sign-up. In hindsight, the fact that this transaction was all automated with no phone numbers to contact a person should have raised a question about what type of customer service I would receive. Not! However, once the product was purchased, I had a few questions regarding some technical issues. I visited their website for troubleshooting techniques and guides. I read and reread everything to ensure there was not a “user” error as some times I have mature moments. Nothing was working. I sent an email that outlined what I wanted to do, how I did it, rereading their troubleshooting techniques and the issues I encountered. If anyone knows me, they know I am very thorough about everything. The response I received from the company a day and half later only included the employee resending me the troubleshooting guide. At this point, the “sister” was hot. What kind of response was this???? I went back on the website hoping I missed a phone number to call, no luck. I sent another email voicing my displeasure in the lack of quality response from the company representative. Having no timely response, my only recourse was to figure out the solution on my own. It took me a little while, but I did find the solution. The solution was not an option within their troubleshooting guide. I sent the company an email letting them know I found the solution and no longer needed their assistance. Only then did I receive an email stating they were sorry. They never asked what solution I found or the problem. This experience and other’s similar to this taught me a lesson about selecting the companies that I deal with on a professional and personal level. I will not be a repeat customer for this company and will find someone else that has a stronger customer service commitment to meet my needs. All I wanted was someone to take the time to care and follow through on ensuring the product/service met my needs and functioned properly. More importantly on a professional level, this experience reenergized my desire to ensure that the product and services that I offer my clients have outstanding support and follow through.
A lot of times we as business owners have it backwards. We focus on what product or service we want to introduce to the market/a potential client instead of the customer service that is crucial to success. When clients purchase a product or service there is an inherent emotional attachment as they have invested their time and money into something. In my opinion, the product or service a company provides cannot out last poor or no customer service. I refuse to offer poor or subpar customer service to ANY one!