Recently I had an issue with a service provider with whom I’ve been doing business with exclusively for 17 years. Yes, seventeen!
Needless to say, I’d be considered a loyal customer by anyone’s definition.
I had a problem with the services this company provides—in fact, they were unable to provide the services I pay for—month in and month out to the tune of almost $150 per month. I was told they could solve my problem on July 1—eleven days from the time I initially found the problem. ELEVEN days.
Really? A loyal customer of 17 years and I’m going to be put at pretty much the back of the line? I wasn’t happy—but, I am very loyal.
One could easily do the math and find that over the life of my relationship with this provider, I’d spent in excess of $25,000. So, I wanted to give this company every opportunity to—in some way—make things right. If I was going to be this inconvenienced I didn’t think it was too much to ask that I receive a credit for my entire June bill. Again, less than $150.
I talked to no less than four people who couldn’t help me—each one passing me to another and each time having to explain my situation from the beginning. Frustration was beginning to set in. Then I was transferred to Amanda in their Tennessee office.
Amanda was a true pro and listened to my issues and agreed that I’d been inconvenienced and I should be due some sort of credit. However, even she, the highest level I could reach, didn’t have the authority to give me a full month’s credit.
But, she could offer something else.
A “one time” retention credit of $50 plus other miscellaneous credits and discounts applied over the next year that would reduce my monthly bill by a little over $50 per month—for a year!
Wait. I asked for less than $150 and your counter offer is more than $600?
Talk about throwing the baby out with the bathwater!
Seriously? Who is the financial genius at this company who is NOT empowering the people to solve problems? I would’ve gladly taken the month credit and been extremely happy.
However, I was shocked more than anything that a company this large—couldn’t do something as simple as let their people solve a customer’s problems.
So, the lesson for us all is this: give your people who deal with customer’s the latitude to solve customer’s problems within reason. Now, if Amanda were crediting 50 customers’ a month when the average Customer Service Representative was doing that for 5 people, then Amanda should be counseled. But, to not even give her that option?
Give your people the ability and the responsibility to keep your loyal customers happy—and I can assure you: nine times out of ten, what the customer will ask for is LESS than what you’re willing to do! I am proof positive!
Empower your people; give them your guidance and feelings on how problems should be solved and let them solve them.
Oh. And I did accept their offer of reducing my bill by $50 a month for a year. It was the least I could do.
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