The Cost Of An Unsatisfied Customer

dollarsAs customers, at some time in our lives, we have all experienced bad service somewhere. When we do we should learn from it and prevent a similar occurrence from happening in our organization.

Last week, while in Phoenix I was picking up some dry cleaning at a local dry cleaner. I chose their drive thru window pick up option and sat there for 30 seconds while the 3 – workers on the inside of the building were interacting in what appeared to be a social conversation (lots of laughter and animation going on). I did get a glance from one of the workers but apparently it wasn’t her job to acknowledge customers or serve those waiting at the drive thru window.

When one of the male attendants finally greeted me, I gave him my name and told him I was there for a pick up. He came back with the order placed it in the back seat and took my $40 for the $27 charge then brought me my change and I drove off.

I got home and realized that I had our dry cleaning as well as someone else’s too. So I got back in the car and returned to the drive thru service lane and explained the situation. After great confusion, the attendant acknowledged I paid $15 too much and explained he would arrange to have a check sent to me in the next 7 – 10 business days. I told him I preferred cash – I paid in cash and would like my refund in cash. Apparently there’s a policy of no cash refunds.

The attendant got his manager on the phone and after a few minutes of explaining the situation – no cash is the final answer  – check in the mail in 7 to 10 business days.

This is the thanks I get for returning clothes that are not mine? You would have thought they would have thanked me for returning the other customers clothes and gave me a full refund for my inconvenience … no, that didn’t happen.

I officially became an unsatisfied customer. The cost ? … I told them they have lost my business for the rest of my life and that of all my family and friends who I touch with my story … all because they wouldn’t give me a cash refund for my cash payment. Irrational I know, but I am the customer.

My leadership tip this week is to remind you that there is a huge cost associated with an unsatisfied customer and that you can’t afford to have any. Here’s my formula for ensuring your success:

1. Hire the right people
2. Train them – teach them to solve problems before they’re problems,
3. Empower them – teach them to use common sense in handling situations that arise
4. Measure and ensure they are engaged
5. Formally measure customer satisfaction
6. Fix reoccurring frustrations
7. Re-train your people

Customers are why your organization exists. They contribute to your top line, your bottom line and your position as a leader in your industry … you must be relentless in looking after them.

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