This is the third in a series of posts dealing with the importance of customer feedback. They were sparked by Tom Vander Well, over at QA QnA, who posted that Six Flags Mid-America failed to meet his expectations. In his second post on the topic Tom publishes the e-mail response he received from Six Flags. If you overlook the grammar it’s actually a fairly good apology, but as Tom points out, it doesn’t resolve the issue. Borrowing a phrase from Seth Godin he refers to it as the Thanks for letting us know kiss-off.
Six Flags thought they had resolved his complaint, but they hadn’t. Tom lists four steps to take in resolving a complaint:
- Describe the exact actions that have been taken to address the issue.
- Provide the current status of the actions being taken to resolve the issue.
- Give an accurate estimate of the time it will take to fix the problem.
- Promise to notify the customer when the issue is resolved.
Here’s the sequence. First, apologize as the Six Flags representative did (but clean up that grammar). Next, follow Tom’s steps above. Finally, ask Scott’s question which is, “What will it take to make this right?”
Some of you are thinking, “Glenn, we don’t have the time or staff to engage our customers like that! Yea, we’ll send an apology, but that’s as far as we can go.”
My response: How much money do you think Tom will spend at Six Flags in the future? How much negative word of mouth has he already started? Bottom line: how much future income has Six Flags lost? Hiring and training a couple of interns to handle feedback like this would actually make you money.
Let’s recall that, in my estimation, Tom and his wife spent more than $100 for entry into the park and for food, drink, midway games etc. And he doesn’t feel like he got his money’s worth. Had the same thing happened to me, here’s what I would have like to have had happened.
First, I would to promptly receive an e-mail apologizing and following the steps Tom suggests above. The Six Flags rep would have asked me Scott’s question and I would have replied, “Either refund my ticket price or give me two free passes and some food coupons for my next trip.”
Had that happened I would probably be generating positive word of mouth about Six Flags. Because I would have appreciated the fact that Six Flags values me as a customer, listened to, and then resolved, my complaint. Then went out of their way to truly show they valued me by either refunding my money or providing me with free passes.
If you’re a small business owner competing with big corporations this is where you can beat them. You won’t be receiving as much feedback, positive or negative, so you can spend more time strengthening or rebuilding the relationship with those of your customers that do provide you with feedback..