We took out a Netflix subscription at home just before Christmas. And my wife and I are now engrossed in Breaking Bad – we’re at the end of series 2. (Don’t tell me anything that happens after that!)
It’s a real antidote to work and parenting – but there was a line in an episode last night that caught my attention.
The line? I might not have it verbatim but it was something like “I’d be glad to refer you to our website”. It was uttered by two characters on two separate occasions – the owner and also the manager of a fast food outlet. The implication was that it was a scripted response to customers.
The context? The characters were wondering if the customer had a complaint.
Yep – you heard right. These people were speaking face-to-face with their customer and were encouraging the customer, if there was a complaint, to go to the company’s website and input it there. Ask about the issue there and then? Deal with it as best they could? No way – just toddle off to our website and type it in there!
And the possibility that it was a scripted response suggested that this appalling attitude would be regularly spouted at the owner’s 14 outlets.
Now Breaking Bad is of course fictional. But that type of attitude towards customers is one you’ve come across more than once I reckon as you deal with providers. Where you are made to feel like an irritation. Where you just know that you’re not being heard. Where you feel like what you’re saying is being treated as pure rhetoric. Where you wonder if it’s worth your while because of the hassle entailed.
But what about YOUR OWN CUSTOMERS? Do you get complaints? (If not then that might not necessarily be a good thing – but that’s a topic for another day.) What’s your reaction to them? Do you get defensive? Or do you feel defensive but put on a diplomatic face? How do you channel them? How do you respond to them? Do you investigate them? If they’re well-founded, do you only reluctantly see the opportunity to learn?
What of your complaining customers? Do they feel heard? Acknowledged? Believed? What do you do for the complainants if their complaint is well founded? How quick is your remedial action taken? What is your refund policy?
You’re not perfect. Your business makes mistakes. Just like mine does. And sometimes customers suffer. Deal with it. Don’t hide. Always try and look at your business from your customer’s perspective. If you feel like you could do with help in this area go here.
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