Prior to the creation of the Internet, the conventional wisdom said that an upset customer would tell 25 people. Today that person can tell 250 or 2500, or 25,000 with one click of a mouse whether it’s a blog, Facebook page, or discussion forum. Maria, with her blog post has just proved that.
AT&T failed miserably in meeting Maria’s needs. No matter how big or small your company is, do you have a complaint resolution process that, at the minimum, meet’s your customers’ needs? Is it part of your culture to tell your customer service staff to go to extra lengths to help the customer?
Yesterday I was forwarded a complaint from a constituent of ours who is both a volunteer and a donor. She was upset about an e-mail that had been sent to her and she had misinterpreted it. She also mentioned she had a problem. Her tone was (warning: understatement ahead) rather sarcastic. I could have ignored her e-mail or delegated it to someone else. But I responded in a friendly tone explaining to her how we could fix her problem. A few hours later, she replied in a friendly way and asked me to ignore her earlier tone.
The entire interaction took about five minutes of my time. I’m sure I retained her as a volunteer and donor. Now her problem was a great deal less challenging than Maria’s problem, but even if it had been a lot more challenging, I wouldn’t have given up on her.
Remember, most experts tell us that it’s 3-5 times more expensive to acquire a customer than it is to retain one.
In solving customers problems it’s often not the degree of difficulty; it’s the difference in attitude.