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A Glimpse Into Terrible Customer Service (Don’t Do This)

What’s terrible customer service? Let me tell you a story.

I was talking to a friend last week, and she asked my opinion on what she should do with her internet service provider. “They want me to switch to one of their new plans, but the whole thing is confusing,” she told me.

I remember when she started with this internet provider. Others in the area had turned out to be terrible, and she found a wireless provider that was just launching there. I remember that she formed a great relationship with the owner of the company (it was a small, mom-and-pop outfit). The owner was glad to have her business. My friend ended up signing up a bunch of other people to the service, and all was great. For a time.

What happens when a business loses the personal connection with the customer? Terrible customer service.

But now the speeds are slow. There have been unexplained outages for days at a time, with little communication from the company. Prices jumped without warning. And the owner of the internet service provider hasn’t bothered to keep the relationship alive.

My friend told me she recently got an email from “customer service.” It was nameless. The unnamed person writing asked her to choose one of their new metered internet plans. The person had attached a confusing PDF with more than 20 options of different speeds and prices.

My friend said she wrote back and asked the company to tell her how much bandwidth she’d used in the last few months, to help her choose a plan. The customer-service person wrote back and said, “Sorry, we’re not able to give you that information.” To which my friend wrote back: “So how am I supposed to choose a plan, then? And BTW, who am I talking to?”

My, how far the relationship has fallen.

This terrible customer service is the reverse of everything I teach leaders to implement at their organizations. Successful customer relationships grow and get more personal over time. Loyalty and trust and appreciation for being “one of the firsts” creates powerful word of mouth, and strong affinity, if maintained. Which didn’t happen here. If ever there was a recipe for preparing a customer to ditch a brand, this is it.

Time for you to implement. It’s Ron’s Monday Mission™:

What relationships (professionally or personally) do you value that need attention? Do something to insert some positive energy into them this week. Being grateful is a great place to start.

Have a great week,

Ron

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