Business is business. Personal is personal. Never mix the two. I left the employment of a company once because that distinction was never made.
I believe in this with my whole being. Allow me to share with you two scenarios recently. One that happened to me personally with another business. Another that happened to my business when trying to conduct business with another business.
I was the benefactor of a case recently with a settlement and on a Friday the lawyer’s paralegal told me that the funds would be reimbursed on Monday or Wednesday of the following week. “Cool”, I thought and let it go. Friday comes next week and I called the office to see the status but they had already left for the day. It was at 4:05pm. I called Monday of the following week to check the status. The lawyer was returning phone calls all day and I left two messages over the course of the day without one being returned. I called back again Tuesday morning now a little perturbed as it had been almost a week without seeing my money.
The lawyer responds that his daughter had gone into labor and he had been away from the office.
I asked him about the promise that his paralegal made about the money being sent out. He proceeded to tell me that she never said that and that he would get it out in the next few days. After some “discussion”, he disagreed with me that he should pay for the wire transfer the money to my account based upon his paralegal making false promises to me and failing to follow through. What’s $40 in wire transfer fees to make clients happy when his payout is well into 5 figures? Bad customer service.
Scenario #2. My wife needed gifts for her employees and I gave the business to a local shop instead of ordering from Amazon as I thought it was the right thing to do. That transaction went wonderfully. I also ordered a week prior to this a set of jackets for my employees to add to their Christmas presents from me (I’m a nice boss…aren’t I? 😉 ) The week of my wife’s transaction the proprietor tells me that her embroiderer went out of business and I asked if they would still be able to complete the transaction for me. I’m sure not wanting to jeopardize her $400 transaction she told me “No problem”. The following Wednesday my jackets were to be in.
As you have probably guessed by now they were not and the conversation went something like this…“I’ve got good news and bad news…I got so and so’s order done but I didn’t get yours done…the stitcher went out of business, yada yada yada.” The owner then proceeded to try and appease me with “50% off of anything in the store.” I didn’t want 50% off anything in the store or the jackets for free…I wanted my order, done on time as promised. It didn’t happen and another local business now has that order.
Little did the owner know that I knew she went out Christmas shopping the majority of the day she was supposed to have my order done. Business….or personal?
Statement: “OK Mitch I understand…you’re writing this article because you’re p*ssed off about the lack of customer service you’ve received. Yes and no. I’m writing this article to illustrate how customer service is the #1 thing lacking in today’s business world. It doesn’t take much for you to go ABOVE AND BEYOND for your clientele. My employees know this rule and are told if there are any mess-ups in their interaction with our clients that they have the power to give the client free something of value to them and to above all else take care of the customer’s concerns.
A second way you can deliver on customer service for your clients is to touch base with them every 30 to 45 days and see how you can help them further. How many other businesses are going to this level to help their clients? You will stand out from the crowd with your exceptional customer service skills and boost your referrals as they talk about how much they love your company to their friends.