- Oct 13, 2018
- Posted by: Claire
- Category: Analysys, Customer Service Strategy, For Small Business Owners
Because I am obsessed with the customer experience, I analyse every single interaction I have with companies, examining their strong points, and their weaknesses.
It’s part of who I am as a person.
This time my analysis is of a recent exchange between myself as the customer, and a small startup husband-wife internet fibre company.
Maybe you’re asking why you should read this, and listen to what I am saying?
Well, I have 7 years customer feedback analysis experience in a global IT outsourcing company (you can read about how I increased their customer satisfaction survey response rate by 99.5% here).
Ready? Let’s go.
For many months, a small husband-wife team were my internet connection suppliers. I experienced such frustration with them as far as support and service were concerned, that I often told them they needed to improve in this area.
The last straw was when my internet stopped working for days. I would have been foolish not to move to another service provider, considering my entire business is digitally-based. So that is what I did.
Quite a number of months later, this husband-wife team asked me if I would be willing to be a guinea pig for them: they wanted to try something out. I agreed.
Problem #1: not taking responsibility or using initiative
When they asked me how it was going, I told them I was experiencing slowness, and during peak hours, it would get really bad.
They checked my speed and reported that all was well.
Now, not being technical, you can tell me “all is well” all you like, but if the speed lags, it lags, say what you will.
Here’s the first essential bit of analysis: something may not be your problem, but if it impacts your business, it IS your problem.
These two internet fibre people are technical. They understand all things technical (and if they didn’t, they should!)
Instead of checking the speed, seeing nothing wrong from their side, they should then have aimed to bring me a solution.
But they didn’t. They did what they should as far as an internet service provider goes, and when they found that all was well from their side, they pushed me back out onto the water to float away by myself.
I found out what my issue was by doing my own research…turns out my computer was the problem, causing slow speeds and hanging. Once I figured that out and had someone fix stuff, my internet speed was fast.
Had this couple suggested that, I may have stuck with them.
Problem #2: no structures in place
Next problem: they have no structures in place. If you need technical support or service, you have to contact either the husband or wife via their phones or email. There were times I did that and had to wait for them to respond.
Monthly payments were a pain in the butt.
So, the fact that I had only two people to contact in the case of support or service worried me: what if they were out of town when I needed them? What if they didn’t respond to my messages or calls?
I feel a lot safer with a structured type of service, knowing I can get support 24 hours a day, and I won’t be made to feel like I’m interrupting you at your braai on a Saturday night.
When I look for services like hosting companies, and so on, I always check to see if they offer Live Chat, and if it’s available 24 hours a day.
Problem #3: they don’t put themselves in their user’s shoes
Once the free test month was up (and I was not notified when it was. Instead, I returned home one day to find I had no internet connection, and a message saying that if I wanted, I could buy a voucher to use the internet). No courtesy call to say, “hey Claire, heads up, your month is up, thanks for letting us test stuff on you”!
What happened to common courtesy?
They assumed that because they gave me a free month, I would stick with them. They actually have no clue how bad their service really is, and that it takes more than cheap prices to win over some clients, especially higher-value ones.
Problem #4: they are not solution-focused
When they found out that I wasn’t intending to continue using their internet fibre, I got a message saying (and I quote): “I was hoping we performed better than that. Clearly we’re still doing something wrong.”
There were no questions and no desire to find out what they were doing wrong.
Instead, the sarcasm came out loud and clear. And you know what? I won’t bother telling them what they are doing wrong, because I have before and they have not heeded my advice…and that’s a lesson right there: when your clients tell you things that make them dissatisfied, listen. Ask questions. Find out exactly what is going on. Then address it. Never just leave them hanging. Your profit is on the line.
If this couple had responded differently, like coming to see me to find out how they could get me to stay with them, I probably would have stuck with them, because their prices are so good. Which brings me to my next point…
Problem #5: their sales pitch is based entirely on low price
After getting their whatsapp message (why not pick up the phone and call me? Why make me work by having to type out messages?) about them “doing something wrong”, I told them that my issue is speed, and the fact that my business was growing and I was at a crossroads and needed to think of the best solution, and that I was considering installing ADSL, since fibre is not yet in the area where I am located.
Their response? “Nothing wrong with the speed Claire. That I am 100% sure of. You have used almost 50Gig in a month. A 4Mbps ADSL is R800 or so a month.Ours is R84 a month. For me, the maths is simple”.
Here comes the lesson: there may not be anything wrong with the speed from their side, but don’t tell me there’s “nothing wrong with the speed”! Find out what exactly are the issues I am having and try to fix them, so that you can win my business!
Instead, this couple base their entire sales pitch on price (they are much cheaper than other providers).
But for me, price is not the most important thing; support and service is. I want to feel safe when I have a problem. I want to know that if I contact you for help, you will help me.
I told them twice that my connection was slow. Both times I was told, “there is nothing wrong with the speed”.
Had they asked me questions to find out more, and had they wanted to help, they could have offered suggestions, and they may have retained me as a client. But because their entire UVP is price, they have lost me.
- If something is not technically your responsibility, take ownership anyway, because what impacts your business, is your problem.
- Offer customers peace of mind. Build structures, standards and processes.
- Be solution-oriented and put yourself in your customer’s shoes
- Never think that price always trumps. Know your audience and give them what they need.