AOL has got to be cringing–there is audio going around of one of their now-former customers trying to cancel his account. The customer service person, apparently oxymoronically named in this case, does everything he can not to service the customer. Ouch.
And yesterday my husband came home from Best Buy without the new tablet PC he wanted to buy. They had a couple of models on sale, but when he asked about their return policy (these were open-box items), he was told that there would be a 15% restocking fee on any return–even if the item was broken/defective. Being a smart guy, he thought that taking a $150 gamble (15% of $1000) was too big of a risk in this case.
In both of these cases, the companies customer service ensured that their companies would lose money. In AOL’s case, they are going to lose more customers because of this publicity and in Best Buy’s, well, they didn’t get $1000 from us and I’m sure others will pass on that purchase as well.
What is your company’s customer service really like? Do you have policies that push away potential clients rather than encouraging them to buy? While it is important to have sound policies to protect your financial interests, they need to be flexible. For example, if Best Buy had said that the 15% policy would be waived if the machine was defective, they’d have our money now. Or, if you lose a client for some reason, do it with grace–you never know when the contact person will go to another company and if you part kindly, you may get business from him/her down the road.