LEAKING AND STICKING
We recently moved into a beautiful brand new apartment. Unfortunately we noticed two issues right away.
THE WASHING MACHINED LEAKED
The first time we used the washing machine it leaked. The maintenance person that came up looked at the leaking water and said,
“What should I do about that? I don’t know how to fix a washing machine. I’ll have to talk to my manager and will get back to you.”
That happened Tuesday. We didn’t hear back AT ALL from them until the following week. By the time everything was settled it took 4 weeks to repair. The only time we heard from them was when I called. When they couldn’t tell by when it would be finished, I asked if what we should do about washing our clothes in the meantime. The answer – “Bring your clothes to a laundry mat”
THE TOP DRAWER ON THE DISHWASHER STUCK SO MUCH YOU HAD TO FORCE IT CLOSED.
The dishwasher rack was something we pointed out the first day. It took about 4 months for them to finally replace it. When the technician came up to do it he told us – “We should have replaced this the day you pointed it out. It is faulty”
Neither of these is life threatening, but they are annoying. They are the kind of thing that will get a company a bad review on Yelp and can sink its reputation if it happens repeatedly.
But what if the maintenance folks actually thought about the issues they had to deal as if they were the renters. What if they thought about the problem from the perspective of a customer? What would they need to do differently?
Think about how it would feel if the same issue was happening to you. You would want to be treated like an adult. You would want to know that the person trying to help you wasn’t annoyed by your problems.
Most importantly, you would want your questions answered without attitude. It may have been true that we had to take our clothes to a laundry mat. But, it could have been said a little differently or alternatives could have been offered (maybe free usage of the building’s laundry service) or explored.
If you are uncaring in how you deal with a customer you can be sure that they will find other place to get their services.
Even if you don’t have the answer to a question or solution to an issue, make sure the customer knows you are working on it. There is nothing more annoying than being the black hole of “what are they doing with my problem”
Imagine if it was your issue or question. If you were paying someone to solve a problem, wouldn’t you want to know what the progress was? Yes, yes you would.
Don’t wait for the customer to follow up with you. Make it a point to be proactive and contact the customer to let them know the progress. It will incentivize you to have something to tell them.
If you don’t make sure that they customer knows what has developed/transpired on their issue they will assume nothing is happening. Then instead of just dealing with a customer with an issue, you’ll be dealing with an irate customer with an issue.
Nothing is worse than long waits to solve problems or deal with issues. Don’t make customers wait. Recently there was a study done by UK Institute of Customer Service for software companies. They proved that waiting a day doubles the cost of resolving a customer issue.
Not in the computer software industry? So what. The longer you wait to solve issues the more likely that the issue will get worse and/or the customer will:
• Will find additional things wrong
• Go somewhere else for their business
• Make sure everyone knows how rotten your company is
None of these are great alternatives. The faster that an issue can be resolved the better. If the problem was in your house or on your car, you would solve it as quickly as humanly possible. Treat customers like you want to be treated!
Focus on solving customer issue quickly. If you don’t, it is both a great way to lose customers and a great way to waste a lot of money.
What is your organization doing to think about issues and problems though the eyes of the customer?
Anil Saxena is the President of Cube 2.14, an organizational development consulting firm that works with clients to increase both customer and employee engagement while decreasing turnover, improving customer retention, and increasing profitability within organizations.
Saxena is a certified High Impact coach and trainer and a Joint Application Design facilitator. He is also certified by both Rush Systems and IBM as a focus group facilitator. He is an inaugural member of Northwestern University’s Learning and Organizational Change program, and he earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology.