I’m a staunch advocate for treating people, especially your customers with the best care and experience, regardless of if you’re Nordstrom or REI. It will pay off in the short and long term for all parties involved. I’ll either be your biggest advocate or your worst enemy. Need proof? Check out the lesson learned from FTD Flowers here and here. So, I’m excited to kick off July with a blog series on customer service.  Over the course of the month, you’ll read posts from fellow guest bloggers from around the world sharing their good, bad, or ugly customer service experiences…all of them real. So sit back and enjoy.
The ever lovely Evelyn

Evelyn: The Digital and Inbound Marketing Queen

Today’s post comes all the way from Ireland. I’ve had the honor and privilege of working with Evelyn over the last few years in the digital marketing and social media marketing space. Her bubbly personality, high energy, and infectious laugh is quite contagious. She’s passionate about service, inbound marketing, loves to travel, and adores good food and music! And be sure to check out her travel website and travel advice blog.

Recently I had an appalling customer service experience with an online business. I had purchased a domain name for $25; had given my Irish address but completed the purchased while on a business trip in Boston, and subsequently my transaction was marked as fraudulent.

Jumping through hoops

“Great, an online business that cares about security” I hear you say and I would agree if….

I was then asked by standardised email to jump through hoops including sending a copy of my credit card or credit card statement.  During all my replies I had mentioned that I was away and out o the country, with no ability to send them what they needed, but that I would be happy to provide whatever they wanted in the hoop department when I was back home.  I received standard emails back with requests for more documentation and no reference to my comments. I even phoned their customer service department who hadn’t had a clue why I was calling, couldn’t give me the name or contact details of the verification department that had such issues with me travelling. My domain was made inactive.

Are you kidding me?!

Are you kidding me?! It’s a $25 purchase on the Internet for a domain name. The Internet – you know what’s out there already? Do you really think my little www.wolftrekking.com domain for $25 will lower the tone?

What really added to my stress was that I needed that domain to be up and running for training for my new job – the reason for my travelling overseas.

Too much hassle to move

Eventually, after much complaining, my domain was activated again. I received yet another standard email “How was our service?”  Well…I replied asking: ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? and received a call from the CEOs office.

The gist of the call:

  • We have yet to integrate our CRM and our email addresses
  • Our system doesn’t send emails that are not standardised
  • We are so sorry, please stay with us
  • They were not aware at management level, how these things were handled and will take my comments to improve the service.

I stayed (too much hassle to change really) and in fairness the “save” call was great. But I was so surprised at the lack of integration between internal departments and the bad use of marketing automation.

Why I care so much

I’m a marketer. I strive to delight my customers after they purchase. I know who they are. I add value and give them the personalised experience they deserve. Is that hard to do? No, not really. If your organisation is committed to service and each level of the organisation is empowered to provide it. It’s a lot of work but there are great CRMs out there that you can integrate with tools like HubSpot (ha, guess where I started my new job 🙂 ).

These tools give you the chance to concentrate on creating experiences your customers treasure. And the best thing – full integration. Someone replies to an email – you know it. Someone then replies to a form online – that’s added to your system. Someone leave a comment on Social Media after that – oh yeah, you’ll know that too!

Moral of the story

I strive to provide the experience that I would want as a consumer. Bottom line.

And if I don’t get it, I voice it. Not just because I want to release my frustration but because I genuinely feel that organisations that provide bad service need to hear about it to work at it.

So go out there, complain. Help companies provide better service by telling them what went wrong, what they could do better. They’ll thank you for it in the long-run and if not…take it to Twitter and rant, rant, rant!

How do you best deal with situations like Evelyn’s?  What would you do if you were her? Stuck thousands of miles from home without any customer service or support for a work related issue?

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There’s no exchange of moolah behind these blog pages, pro-deals, or freebies with this series. What you see is what you get; real stories from real people who are sharing their experiences to challenge the status quo, inspire companies to take action, and ultimately build a life long customer.  Be sure to check back for the next blog post by Katrina Taylor, blogger of ‘Sota is Sexy.