A Tale of a Customer Service Blunder that Will Leave You Shaking Your Head

Here’s a true story involving a broken glass door, a tradesman, and two disappointed customers.

Recently, an unfortunate incident happened at home. Our glass sliding door broke, an apparent safety and security hazard which required immediate attention.

We called up a glass company at once. One promptly answered and gave us the option of having the door fixed the same day for a higher price than the next day.

Having kids around, we thought it best to get the shattered glass removed and the broken door mended right away. The risks obviously outweighed the cost savings. We were willing to pay more for the safest, quickest solution.

In came the repair man wearing a frown

When the handyman showed up at our doorstep, he made no effort to smile or conceal his furrowed brows and tightened lips. That was how he made his first impression on us.

From his facial expression and behaviour, I gathered that he was not keen to be installing a glass door on the start of a weekend. Being a last minute call out, on a Friday, he probably preferred to relax with his family or hang out with his friends rather than fix a stranger’s door.

I knew that the frustration was not directed at us, but at his employer, who “must have left it to the last minute to assign him the job on a call out, rather than scheduling someone earlier in the day.” Given the short notice of the job, it was possibly the earliest anyone could accommodate our request to replace the door.

But his mood and attitude while on the job certainly left us feeling uncomfortable.

The Real Cost of Bad Customer Service

Whether out of frustration or lack of diligence, this employee did not bother to ensure the timely payment of the urgent work.

When we refused to give our credit card details for him to take back to his office, he nonchalantly left stating it was his boss’s problem and they could deal with it on Monday.

What does this mean?

Every contact that a customer has with one of your employees is a reflection of your business.

Whether they be a delivery driver, a sales person, a tradesman, or an administration assistant, all dealings influence the image of the business.

First, it is important that all employees are trained in the importance of customer service. Sure, I wouldn’t have necessarily been thrilled to be called out at 5:30pm on a Friday afternoon, but I can guarantee that there is no way my customer would detect a hint of my frustration or unhappiness.

Second, in this modern age, tradesmen have no excuse for not accepting payment for jobs offsite. There are various forms of technology available, be it apps on phones, portable eftpos machines, even the provision of bank account details so an Internet transfer can be made.

The time delay in receiving the payment has an effect on the cash flow of the business. If this happened to us, how many other customers were allowed a delayed timeframe for payment?

The administration staff would then need to take the time out of their day to follow up on payment. If they have to leave messages and follow up a number of times, this will further defer settlement.

Since the urgency of the job has diminished significantly – we are no longer concerned about the broken door leaving our house unsafe, open to bad weather, and potential intruders because it has been fixed – we may not feel as much obliged or grateful to pay for the work carried out at a short notice.

The Moral of the Story

The importance of having loyal, dedicated staff who understand the contribution they make to the success of your business cannot be stressed enough. How can you achieve this?

• Taking the time to educate employees on the importance of customer relations is a good start.
• Ensuring that your employees feel valued and respected for their contributions goes a long way to help them feel they are a part of your team.
• A simple ‘thank you’ in recognition of a job well done shows appreciation and gains their loyalty and commitment.

How do your employees measure up? Will you have a different customer service story to tell?