Monday, June 04, 2007

how NOT to practice customer service

In the unorganized world of moving there are victims who move and the movers who facilitate these situations. These are their stories.
Da Ding...

Quick version: we moved successfully last week :-) Praise God.

Longer version: We had some hiccups. One of which was moving company "Quality Movers" (henceforth referred to as QM) calling me on Saturday to get the address for the move. But I had never confirmed with QM only got a quote from them. I had signed up with "Minor Moving" (henceforth = MM) to do the actual move.
In their defense, I never explicitly called and told QM that I was not using their services after getting the quote but that is not the same as confirming. So I apologized for the confusion and thanked them for their call and told them that I had picked another company. Few minutes later i get a call back from the same woman at QM who gave me the original quote, she starts the conversation with
  • "i heard the movers tried to get your address and you declined, what is up?" not in a friendly tone of voice either.
  • i explain to her that i never confirmed with them and i am sorry for the confusion but i was not using them.
  • she then proceeds to challenge me on the strength of my memory. i once again point out that i am not calling her a liar, just that sometimes two sides end up with different take on past events. I tell her again that I did not intentionally set out to spoil her day and i am sorry for the unfortunate turn of events but i have somebody else lined up.
  • at this point her voice gets louder, tinged with sarcasm and she asks me if i am usually this confused :-)
So I could either have been rude in return or see how far she is willing to lose her cool and discredit her company. I opt for the latter.
  • I let that pass and tell her that the conversation is no longer productive and I am sorry for her troubles.
  • She explains to me the amount of trouble I have caused her and she asks me what moving company i went with?
  • I tell her I went MM, to which she takes a few seconds and then comes back with "Hah, I just found out that the movers you choose lost their license with Texas board of xxx (don't remember). Looks like you made a great choice.. i hope you are happy".
wow! ...... what could have be done differently here? Let me see
  • Never call your customer when you are heated up and angry (even if they are wrong). Never do this!
  • Remember customers are typically not for single transaction. On average, for any company,I am willing to bet that most customer will make multiple transactions over their life time. So take the time to educate the customer or understand their context so you can win their business next time.
  • If things are not looking good, try to your best to blow their expectations away by reacting differently. For instance, if QM had called me back and said they were sorry to lose my business but still wished me a great move and gave me good moving tips. You bet I am going to bend over backwards to give them business from my friends.
.....little patience before picking the phone to call me would have made such a difference......

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