Shep Hyken's Customer Service Blog

Guest Blog: Surviving Poor Customer Service: 10 Lessons Learned

This week on our Friends on Friday guest blog post my colleague, Dianna Booher, shares 10 lessons learned from a poor customer service experience. As Dianna says, changing any of these dynamics can help elevate your customer service. – Shep Hyken

A recent renovation in our home due to a water leak became almost a 4-month, full-time job for my husband.  Sharing some of the customer-service snafus with friends and colleagues, we’ve discovered that these happenings are all too common for the construction industry.

Reflecting on our experiences and hearing the tales of woe from others, I’ve put together “10 Lessons Learned” to help you survive your next customer-service nightmare.

On the other hand, if you own a business in ANY industry, changing even one or two of these service delivery dynamics could make a dramatic difference in distinguishing you in the marketplace as an outstanding organization:

Lesson #1:  Expect no communication between the departments or people who work for the same organization. They will not know what their colleagues have agreed, scheduled, done, or planned to do.  You, as customer, will become their main source of information.

Lesson #2: If the vendor says that they will arrive at 8:00 am, expect 10:00 am.  If they give you a 10:00 am arrival time, expect them at your door at 8:00 am.

Lesson #3: If they promise to get a quote or proposal to you within a certain time period, double it.

Lesson #4:  If they set a firm time for a meeting or phone call, to minimize frustration, get a watch that doesn’t work.

Lesson #5:  Vendor A will mess up the work of Vendor B.  Vendor B will mess up the work of Vendor C. No vendor will own responsibility for any of the foul-ups and will continue to blame the others.

Lesson #6:   If vendors give you a completion date of 30 days, expect 60 days. Whatever the estimated project time, double it.

Lesson #7:  Whatever the estimated cost, increase it by at least 50 percent.  If you agree on the cost upfront in writing, expect the vendor to run into an unknown problem and the total project to require additional “scope” and fee.

Lesson #8:  If paperwork is involved in the transaction (order form, invoice, receipt), expect errors and several iterations of the same.

Lesson #9:  If you’re assigned a liaison or project manager, expect to have to manage the project manager because he or she will be overwhelmed with far too many jobs for one person to handle.

Lesson #10:  When finished, expect the vendor to ask for a referral for their work.

Dianna Booher is the bestselling author of 47 books, published in 60 foreign language editions. She works with organizations to help them communicate clearly and with leaders to expand their influence by a strong executive presence. Her personal development topics include communication, leadership, executive presence, productivity, life balance, and faith. Her most popular books include What MORE Can I Say?, Creating Personal Presence: Look, Talk, Think, and Act Like a Leader and Communicate With Confidence.

For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to customerserviceblog.com.

Read Shep’s latest Forbes Article: Top Ten Business Books Of 2016

 

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