Hurts so Good
One of the first blogs or articles I ever wrote was titled “The Death of Customer Service.” This was back in the 90s and I probably still have that blog on a floppy disk somewhere (look that up Millennials). I can’t remember the exact culprit of my ire, but needless to say I went on a full tear rant about this horrendous customer service experience I had. Little did I know that part of my brand ethos, and what I preach to my clients years later, is the importance of understanding your customer’s pain points.
Survival of the Pivots
I’ve had two epically bad episodes around CS lately. One from a small brand and one from a major luxury one. Neither gets a pass and neither had adequate responses. In the beginning of the pandemic, we were all trying to figure out supply chain and customer service issues. I get it and was totally understanding when things took longer than expected. But nine months later, that can no longer be an excuse. Using the pandemic for your poor service is another way of saying you don’t have the ability to pivot your business and be forward-thinking. And that’s completely unacceptable. As Darwin said, adapt or die.
The number one, most important thing any business can focus on is transparency. Your customers won’t care if their item is late if you get in front of it and let them know. The simple acknowledgement that things will take a little longer and you’re truly sorry and strive for better, will almost guarantee loyalty. But, if you wait for them to reach out to you, wondering where their item is and why it’s taking so long, it’s over. Why am I chasing down orders I paid for? If you took my money, you damn well better get me my purchase. And if you can’t, you need to let me know. Neither one of these companies did any communication and worse, neither has even offered any compensation. Not even a percentage off or a coupon for a future purchase. It’s mind-boggling. And let me be clear, both of these issues have been going on for months. Months. Not weeks. Months.
I Cannot Tell a Lie
Our job as businesses is to make it easy for people to not only buy from us, but to want to keep buying. Good service is 90% of that equation (while not likely a statistical fact, this is my own estimation of importance). Honesty in the buying process can’t be overstated.
Here’s what you’re getting.
Here’s when it will arrive.
Here’s what you should expect.
There should be no grey area here. But, of course, on the off chance something goes awry, own it immediately, let them know, speak confidently but humbly and never ever underestimate. It’s always better to underpromise and overdeliver than the other way around. People are so much more forgiving than you think. They just want to know you care. Maybe some of you consider this going above and beyond, but to me, for a good business, this is the bare minimum (see pain points above).
Built to Serve
I can tell you I will likely never purchase anything from either of these two companies again. This isn’t about spite, but in this day and age where you spend your money is the only way to send a message, and frankly there are plenty of fantastic companies out there who would welcome my loyalty and my dollars. Why give it to someone who doesn’t value me or recognize their own complicity?
When I drone on about Personality Brand, it’s more than just putting your hobby in your message. It’s true authenticity. It’s humanity. It’s vulnerability. When you’re truly yourself, you create a level of trust, a level of care and a true connection that drives loyalty. And that's a message that serves everyone.
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