I’ve made a list of customer experiences I’ve had recently, and though utterly anecdotal, they make me believe businesses are taking customer relationships more seriously than ever. Maybe economic conditions explain the increased attention, or maybe businesses finally understand that it’s far more expensive to attract new customers than it is to keep existing customers, who if dissatisfied, could venture into the marketplace and tarnish the brand’s reputation.
Here are some of the incidents I recall from recent years and the results:
My mechanic: I brought my teen’s car to him on the recommendation of an auto parts clerk. My son drove off in the repaired car, but after a few miles found that the accelerator stuck, and the brakes just barely overpowered the engine enough for him to stop the car and call me. Thankfully, there was no accident, but I was pretty steamed when I called the mechanic at closing time for most businesses. He was mortified. Immediately he dispatched and paid for a tow truck to bring the car to him. He stayed late and fixed the car himself, apologizing over and over while explaining how angry he would be if this had happened to his child’s car. As it happens, a fairly recent hire of his had worked on the car and left a piece of mechanics unsecured, which had moved into a position to block the accelerator linkage. He fired that mechanic the next day. When I needed car service again, I took a chance, and went to him again. Over the course of my next few business encounters with him I realized he was the most honest, fair and competent mechanic I’d found in this town, and I recommend him to close friends. At Christmas, I bring him cookies.
The outlet center: I needed a new dishwasher and bought one from the outlet center of a major retailer, the place where you get the returns and scratch-and-dents. I bought a refurbished unit, but when I was ready to install it I noticed a spring assembly was missing from the door hinge. I was steamed when I returned it, resentful of not just the long drive but the wasted effort of hauling it in and out of the house. The woman asked me if I’d like another dishwasher instead of a refund, but I explained that I could no longer trust their definition of “refurbished” if parts are missing. Polite and contrite, she invited me to look around and come back with my decision. And then she stunned me by offering me a new-in-the-box dishwasher (albeit, probably either discontinued or overstocked.) I found one that was twice as good as the one I’d selected before, and it cost about twice as much, too. I almost felt guilty accepting the offer, but accept it I did. I asked her why she was willing to make this offer, and she explained that she only wants happy customers because with social media, word-of-mouth can make or break a business. She also explained that she’d been burned herself, and knew how long a dissatisfied customer will hold a grudge.
The new dishwasher is a dream (if you dream about dishwashers,) and I will keep this business on my list of merchants when I’m looking for an appliance, though I’ll certainly inspect any refurbished merchandise more carefully before I lift it in my truck and drive back across town.
My ISP: One evening I was surfing the net and noticed my speed slow to a crawl. Even twitter was slow. I ran a speed test to confirm that my “high-speed” connection was actually slower than dial-up, then tweeted those results. Within five minutes a representative from my ISP DMed me, agreed the results were unsatisfactory, and promised to get back to me, and after ten minutes, she did. My speed was back to normal. I can’t overstate what an improvement that experience was over the ISPs clunky and frustrating phone tree process.
Clearly, social media is more than a soapbox; it’s a powerful tool for customer service and customer relationships, and each positive experience has the potential to build the brand’s reputation.
Content marketing solutions make your brand management simpler and more streamlined. Ad Giants can also streamline your processes, with years of marketing experience that translates to a knowledge of best practices to help customers stay ahead of the crowd. For more information on marketing CMS or our mission to make marketing simpler and more efficient, find us on Facebook, Twitter, or at AdGiants.com.