I've been trapped at home today. Unable to leave. Not, as you may think, by a violent snowstorm, freezing roads, or other weather induced problem. No, I've been kept here by poor service from a healthcare company. And, while I wait for a courier to arrive, it has given me pause to consider how businesses deal with their customers when they have badly let them down.
I don't mean for this to sound dramatic, but I am awaiting delivery of medicines which, without fail, must begin to be administered tomorrow. These were to be delivered to my home between 8am and 12pm today. As so many of us do, I re-arranged my diary, and patiently waited for the package to arrive. And waited, and waited.
When it hadn't arrived by 2pm, I contacted the company's call centre. To be informed there had been problems getting deliveries out in Scotland……due to the bad weather there today! Now, in Scotland we are well used to bad weather. All our major road networks were closed due to heavy snow last week. But I have never thought of clear, blue skies and sunshine as bad weather! No icy roads, no snow, and certainly no transport disruption.
The point of all this? It demonstrates how important it is to manage your customer expectations. At the first indication that there would be a delay to my delivery, a simple phone call to advise me would have put an end to any worrying. Instead, I have been fobbed off and am now at the point of writing a letter of complaint.
But, more importantly, whether you're an individual or a business – don't make excuses and don't fabricate reasons why you have failed on your promises. You will be found out. And you will lose custom due to a lack of trust, and the poor customer service you have exhibited.
We all have days when we can't deliver the service we would like to. But what makes a great company stand out from a poor one, is how they handle that. Take ownership of the issue, resolve it……and don't blame it on someone or somebody else. As a social media manager, I'm all too aware that disgruntled customers will quickly take to Facebook and Twitter to say exactly what they think of your business. And bad reputations can spread.
As for my delivery? Well, it's now 4pm and still no sign of it. Although I'm told it will be with me by 4.15pm….weather permitting, of course.
How do you think companies should deal with their mistakes?