Customer service is everything
Let us ignore the large gap between blogs (I have been busy, which is good) and move straight on to my hot topic of the moment: customer service. For some time now I have been having an ongoing issue with a service provider in connection with the charity that I run (www.thesanctuaryangels.com). I won't name them, which means that I can be frank about them and let off some steam. In short, they provide a cheap, relatively reliable product, but zero customer service (well, virtually zero). Ultimately, I have resolved the problem myself, at some expense and a great deal of stress and wasted hours. But I am not one to give up, especially not when it comes to my charity. We will be stronger for it, ultimately.
In the process of resolving the issue, it became clear to me that the essence of good (or bad) customer service is human contact. Automated responses are good and efficient, but what we all crave when we have a problem is to be able to speak to a human being, someone who hears how it is making us feel, who understands and who wants to help us, even if they can't offer a solution right there and then. Of course reassurances must be followed by actions, but in the first instance, it is essential to provide a response that meets the client's emotional needs at the time.
This may sound ridiculous, but it's true. In the course of the problem with my charity, I have experienced so much worry, upset and frustration that finally finding a mediator who was able to assist me, and who said and did all the right things, was incredibly healing. I don't mind admitting this. In short, I have experienced the very worst and best of customer service in trying to resolve this issue. And this has implications for my own business. While I pride myself on always trying to provide 100% when I deal with my customers, this incident reminds me why excellent customer service is paramount when running a business of any kind.