customer service

Customer service is one of the basics of business.

Without it you won’t have any customers.

It’s the one aspect that you can shine at regardless of the size of your business.

Great service is one of the things people will pay extra for, so why are so many companies falling flat on their faces?

Poor service

It’s not going to come as a surprise to you that this post has been triggered by some shockingly poor service I received today.

Sitting comfortably? The I’ll begin.

As a business owner I work from my home office just like thousands and thousands of other business owners. Broadband is therefore my lifeline. It’s what enables me to do what I do, so when it goes down the world ends.

This morning I was at my desk at about 7.30am and everything was hunky-dory, but about an hour later my world fell apart.

Emails wouldn’t send and my browser wouldn’t open, glancing over my shoulder I noted that the broadband light in my router was flashing orange – not a good sign.

After doing the usual resets, it still wasn’t working. There was only one thing for it – a call to BT.

At this point it’s worth mentioning that we’d recently decided to move broadband supplier to Plusnet. BT was proving expensive and unreliable so my husband had made all the necessary calls and we are due to switch on Monday (today is Thursday).

After waiting an eternity, my call was finally answered by BT. I put them in the picture and specifically asked whether our impending move to a different provider was a potential cause of the fault. This was shrugged off and I spent the next 30-40 minutes prowling round the house connecting and disconnecting plugs etc. Nothing worked so I  was put on hold whilst they checked the line Рnothing. I was then put on hold again while they tested the broadband line.

Then – wait for it – I was informed that Plusnet had already taken over our line, which is why it wasn’t working, even though the changeover wasn’t due until Monday.

I had no reason to doubt BT, so I then phoned Plusnet. That turned out to be yet another frustrating call as they refused to give me any details because the account holder was my husband. They couldn’t even tell me if there was anything they could do to help. I could kind of understand that (it’s a security thing), but it was incredibly frustrating.

Next stop, husband.

He works away a lot, so I phoned and left a voice mail explaining everything asking him to call BT and Plusnet because I was getting nowhere.

After a few hours he called to say that it wasn’t Plusnet because BT had told him there was a local broadband line fault that would be resolved sometime within the next 48 hours.

A different story to the one I’d fed.

To top it all, after checking with neighbours, their broadband was fine. How localised was this problem?

As you can imagine I was seething by this point.

So Plusnet said it wasn’t them and BT were changing their story.

The end result, I had to decamp to a neighbours house so I could get all urgent work done.

Will the get resolved? I hope so, but it’s left me with a big problem.

I don’t expect anyone to wave a magic wand and put things right instantly (although, right now, that would be nice), but the truth would be nice.

The moral of my rant

Things go wrong. No one is perfect and there isn’t a company on this planet that hasn’t made a mistake.

And people understand that, but they also expect empathy, honesty and help.

If you get something wrong have the guts to hold your hands up, admit your mistake and put a plan in action to solve it.

You may not lose a customer because of an error, but you certainly will if you handle it badly.