Does Your Customer Service Live Up to Your Marketing?

 

My wife Mary bought a baby carrier the year Alexander was born: 2004.

It’s the kind that lets you wear your baby (or toddler) hands free on your body when you walk around.

The carrier was retired from use last year after our then 3 year old, Miranda, outgrew it.

It lasted through two (very large and still growing) children, traveled around the world (Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, and back), and five trips to the shoemaker for repairs.

It’s tattered and torn.

Saying that it’s rough around the edges is putting it mildly.

Recently, when we were cleaning out the house, Mary found it, and talked about how hard it was to part with it.

It’s a relic of a very special time of our family.

Before parting with it, Mary went to the company’s website.

On the company’s home page, she read:

We pride ourselves on superior customer service and high quality products. Should you have any questions regarding the proper use of our products, or any other questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact our customer service department at: (xxx) xxx-xxxx

On the About page, she read:

We welcome customer comments and input. We receive many testimonials about the life changing stories parents have experienced with the baby Carrier. We value our customers, and respond to every inquiry we receive. WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

There’s also a testimonial page, filled with glowing stories and pictures of parents and their happily carried babies.

Mary isn’t looking to buy a new carrier.

She just wanted to connect with the people who made a product to which we’re emotionally attached.

She dialed the customer service number.

After being on hold for a while, Mary finally got a live person.   Mary explained,

Yes, I’ve had a carrier I bought in 2004, and it’s been around the world with us and our kids.  It got so much use that we’ve had it mended numerous times at the shoemakers in town.   I was wondering if you’d like some pictures of it, or a story about it for your website.

The Customer Service Rep answered in a cool monotone voice:

Well, we’ve made a lot of changes since you bought your model.

Silence.

Mary replied:

So, I guess you wouldn’t be interested in any photos or anything?

Silence.

Finally:  No.

End of conversation.

Not a single question was asked of Mary.

Not a single acknowledgement was made of Mary.

Not a single shred of empathy for a customer who had taken time out of her day only to connect and thank you for your product.

Mary told me:  When I got off of the phone, I was nearly in tears.

Does your customer service live up to your marketing?

 

Alain Hunkins leads personal and professional development trainings for individuals, teams and organizations. Over the last two decades, Alain has facilitated for over a thousand groups, ranging from at-risk youth to Fortune 500 executives. He moves between the educational, artistic, not-for-profit, government and corporate worlds. His corporate clients span nearly every industry. Companies include: Reckitt-Benckiser, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Pfizer, Citigroup, United Technologies and Coach. Alain is currently Senior Facilitator & Vice President, Business Development for Eagle’s Flight. His work has taken him to nearly every state in the USA, as well as Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Belgium, Britain, Ireland, Spain, Egypt, France, Italy, Switzerland, Hungary, South Africa, and Taiwan. Alain sharpened his facilitation skills as an Educational Consultant in New York City, developing programs on many subjects, including Conflict Resolution, Networking, Customer Service, Communication, and Leadership.

Alain earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Amherst College and his Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Wisconsin/Milwaukee Professional Theater Training Program. He is a certified Leadership Challenge & MBTI facilitator, as well as a certified co-leader for ManKind Project International, whose mission is to help men lead missions of service in their families, communities, and workplaces. A native of Queens, NY, Alain calls the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts home, where he faces his greatest leadership challenge yet: raising his young children, Alexander & Miranda. Alain completed the New Warrior Training Adventure in 1995.

– is a deeply personal issue that everyone decides for himself. Sometimes the price is high, sometimes low. But this is not very important for life. Life is an interesting thing. And the price on Viagra – too.

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