Thursday, 19 February 2009

Keep your customers informed - or lose them

Duane Jackson has blogged about the different levels of customer service he's received from the designers that KashFlow have outsourced work to.

It's Company 2 that made me think - the ones who disappeared for weeks at a time without telling the customer what was going on.

That's the sort of thing that has always made my blood boil.

As a customer, I don't expect my suppliers to drop everything and always make me their top priority. But if they're not going to be able to meet a deadline, or if they're going to change their service, then I'll be far less cross if they ring up and explain why, than if they give me the silent treatment.

When it comes to keeping customers in the loop, less is definitely not more. Keep them informed.

Matt and I hired a car on a trip to Scotland some years back. We managed to knock the rubber bumper protector off. We made sure we told the hire firm this when we returned the car, and filled in all the required forms.

I was absolutely livid when, some weeks later, and without notice, my credit card was charged £200+ for the repair.

If the hire company had sent an invoice in advance of the charge, with a covering letter explaining why it was so much, I wouldn't have been nearly so cross.

And it wasn't that I minded paying for the repair. But £200+ to snap a bit of rubber back into place?

To just charge my credit card, for so much, with no explanation, felt like they were stealing my money.

I'd never use that hire firm again.

To paraphrase Paddi Lund: Tell your customer before the event and it's a reason. Tell them after the event and it becomes an excuse.

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