I am not an expert in customer satisfaction, but I can say anyone working at our company better know our values statement, which is all about customer satisfaction. I can also tell you I am a consumer of goods and services, so I thought I might share some thoughts from my perspective on this subject.
I will start with an example of poor customer service/satisfaction and then quickly pivot to an example of good customer service – both of which occurred in the last week.
As you should know by now, I can’t stand ads of the type that waste my time – namely on radio or television. I would rather watch or listen to a recorded show or game after it is over, or in delay mode in case of DVR, to avoid commercials. This leads me to bad experience number one.
Assignments are not Help
I was about to subscribe to a web app for which I would use my phone for streaming audio. I could readily subscribe through the Apple app store with my phone, which to my surprise seemed a little easier. Or, I could subscribe with my computer. It was one of those first-month-free offers. Like when I first tried WiFi over dial-up, for a substantial increase in cost and the hassle of having it installed. Once I had tried it out, game over. Sold.
Back to the app in question, the cost was, say, $8 month or $150 for two years. I wanted to drop the monthly subscription through the iPhone and sign up for two years on my computer (how to do so was not apparent through the phone app).
I set up my account directly with the PC, and then after scrounging for an address to send questions to, I asked, how do I nix the iTunes subscription. Response: Here is an 800 number to call Apple. Screeeeeeech, as the sound of nails on the chalkboard. I want answers, dude! Not an assignment.
In about three minutes of fiddling with my phone, I learned how to cancel my subscription directly through the iPhone to the app store. Should I contact customer service and school THEIR tech staff on how to cancel a subscription through iTunes? No! I love helping people but not if it costs me considerable time, and especially after they don’t help me.
Pay Attention – and Think!
In the second case, I took my mother out for lunch. Due to nerve damage and age, her dexterity isn’t the best so she needs her own flatware with nice big grips. She brings her set when she goes out to eat. We finished our meal and were getting set to go. I asked the waitress for a napkin to wrap the flatware to put back in Mom’s bag (reusable, of course) to carry home. The waitress’s reply, “Would you mind if I just rinse those off for you?” Ching! That was a big deal, and I love that sort of attention and customer service – worthy of a few extra bucks tip and a good vibe for visiting again in the future.
Great feedback is nice. It keeps us fueled – like keeping me going with the Energy Rant every week, but critical feedback is even more important.
I have a saying about feedback: people want feedback as long as it is the right feedback. You know, praise, “great job,” blech. Instead, ask for and even practically beg for constructive criticism, and make it easy! On that note, I will give the previously mentioned iPhone app creators a plug. They followed with a customer satisfaction survey that was easy to take and provide feedback. If they really wanted world-class notoriety, they would refund part of my subscription. No. That was not a joke. Even an acknowledgment of the specific issue and corrective action would be impressive.
Surveys v Feedback
Surveys are ok if I’m invested in the company or organization and if I have substantial confidence that a human being is going to consider my input. #Delta and #Hilton – I’m not taking your surveys unless you pay me. Why pay? Because then I know you have some skin in the game and are likelier to do something with the information you paid to get.
I also don’t like to be pestered endlessly to take surveys. For instance, I wish one of my home contractors was as hell-bent on getting my projects done as they are getting me to take their survey. Texts, emails, phone calls – for months! Jeez man, you’ve blown it with me.
Feedback should be a simple binary choice with a gripe section. Satisfied, dissatisfied, and why.
Parting Advice and Comments
For recipients of feedback:
- Mouth shut. Ears open.
- Look in the mirror first, after getting critical feedback.
- Thank people for critical feedback.
- Resist pushback and defensiveness.
- Respond with an action plan, and carry out the plan.
- Be assertive, honest and factual with feedback.
- Don’t be a jerk.