Customer services (Photo credit: gordon2208)
Along with discussing good marketing ideas, I find myself blogging more and more about customer service. That’s because no matter what the good idea was that had gotten your customer to the point of making the purchase, nothing has the potential of undermining your marketing than the moment of truth; the moment when your potential customer, ready and eager to buy your service or product, online or in person, faces your website or sales person.
What happens at that moment can make or break your sale, and eventually, and inevitably, your image.
So now let me turn this reasoned, objective blog into a customer service rant. (I don’t often do this, but I am still fuming…and it is my blog!)
Background: Savored.com is a restaurant discount website. Basically, they make and confirm your reservation at one of their listed restaurants, providing a code to give to the manager. You then receive 30% off the total bill, food and beverages, when you receive your check at the end of the meal. A good deal indeed.
I have used their service many times, and it has always been flawless. Till last week, when I made a Friday evening reservation at a Manhattan east side Italian restaurant. Il Riccio…five people, seven p.m. Received my confirmation and we were all set. Then I got a phone call, Friday, at about six p.m., from Savored, saying that the restaurant had cancelled my reservation. They weren’t certain why, and would refund the booking fee, which they used to charged for reservations. (And that, it turns out, is all that they were willing to do. Fairly feeble, and they are keeping Il Riccio on their list of restaurants. Badly played!)
I called the restaurant, and this is where the customer service aspect really rears its nasty head. The manager, or whoever answered the phone, basically said, well, we got busy so why save a table for someone who is getting a discount? His tone was dismissive, indifferent, and when I pointed out that I had a confirmed reservation, his response was that they had never confirmed it, Savored had.
Of course ,I will never go to Il Riccio again. (And I certainly hope, in a show of team spirit, you also avoid it.) If I had the time and strength, I would contact Yelp, TripAdvisor, Consumerist, and post a YouTube video about the bad experience. I would contact every food, restaurant and customer service blog I could find. But I will probably just write this blog about the negative experience. And if I can get the essence into 140 characters, I will Tweet about the problem.
But that’s part of the point. In today’s world, your good and bad interactions can get amplified in ways that could never happen before. Conversations develop. Facebook sizzles. Links. Viral. Who knows where the ripples travel?
It is in your self-interest to provide good customer service. That may not be the selfless, humane, caring reason, but it is a practical one.
Got the idea?