How to deliver great customer service (or not)

Part of the 60 Second Snippet series.

There is a simple equation I use when I’m working with clients on building a sustainable business.

Processes run the business, people run the processes.

When the processes are robust, the people are value aligned and following the processes, it results in four major benefits:

  • Improved efficiency and productivity
  • Increased profit
  • Improved repeatability
  • Increased customer service

Unfortunately, many businesses large and small get this so wrong.

Poor customer service leads to clients chipping at price or leaving and you lose the referral stream from them.

Last week I was on the receiving end of some extremely poor customer service. A combination of processes that don’t put the customer first and people that really do not care.

Here’s what happened…

Let’s call the delivery company ‘PDP’ to avoid any embarrassment.

A parcel that I needed for Sunday couldn’t be delivered earlier in the week as I was out when they tried to deliver. After two failed attempts, they then referred it back to the sender, giving them limited options for a redelivery.

To make sure I got the parcel, I cancelled all appointments on Friday to stay in and await delivery. I wasted the full day trying to chat to somebody at PDP to resolve my issue, to no avail.

I wasn’t able to collect (apparently due to Covid… as if this is still being used as an excuse!) and I could arrange special delivery the following Monday, despite the parcel being in the warehouse three miles from my front door.

Monday was too late.

Here are the ways I tried to resolve the issue, all without success:

  • Phone – cut me off when I hit the divert to local depot button. No option to speak to a human
  • WhatsApp – outsourced to India who couldn’t assist. Was promised an email that didn’t happen
  • Webchat – just didn’t work
  • App – couldn’t alter what the system had defaulted to
  • Twitter DM – was the global account and the UK doesn’t have an account
  • Website – no direct phone numbers or supervisors available
  • Email to UK MD (I was desperate) – generic SMT email with no name received four days later

It does beg the question, do they have anybody that puts themselves in the customers shoes and tries to get in contact?

Perhaps the company in question would be appalled if they knew? Perhaps they don’t actually care?

It was clear in my mind, after Friday’s experience, that the processes didn’t put the customer first and the staff either couldn’t or didn’t want to do this either.

Toward the end of Friday with the clock ticking, I managed to find a direct number into one of the local depots. The amazing lady I spoke to arranged for me to collect and I did so at 6.00pm. Thank goodness!

Problem finally solved but only after nine hours of stress.

The gift was presented on Sunday and had the desired effect. Phew!

What experience do your clients have of your business?

How often do you put yourself in your clients shoes to see what experience they have?

Are your processes robust and running your business and are your team value aligned and running the processes? Is your customer top of your priority list?

Developing an operations strategy, your company values and a team structure are core parts of building out a sustainable plan.

Make sure you are achieving maximum efficiency, profitability and service levels through processes and people.

The costs are too high if you don’t.