In The Thank You Economy, Gary Vaynurchuk argues that the next economy we're entering into is one where direct customer engagement will be required of all companies, and those that don't grasp this will fail to survive. In Delivering Happiness, Tony Hsieh explains how striving fanatically after customer service became his company's mission. Even in Onward, Howard Schultz talks about how he got inspiration for customer service from Italy's oldest artisan cafe owners.
There are some everyday bad customer experiences that I just can't believe keep on occurring. Here are a few that come to mind immediately from my personal life:
- The dry cleaners that destroyed my wife's wedding dress and failed to fess up or take responsibility
- The hotel in New York that put us in a room right above an outdoor heating unit that was blaring louder than the traffic and rain outside the window (and claimed they weren't aware of the problem with the room beforehand)
- The vendor that installed a bunch of equipment in our home that kept failing (with each return visit containing a threat of charging us for service calls)
- Long lines at the post office and only one clerk at the window (the other one on an extended "break" or just not even there)
- The property management company that stopped servicing our building when we discovered they had failed to do regular required government filings
- The "customer service" phone lines that have wait times in excess of 5 minutes (and then make you repeat your personal information 3 times, each time from scratch with each new agent you're transferred to)
Be responsible. If your shit breaks, man up and fix it; don't try to make more money from "service." Take end-to-end responsibility for your product or service, and do whatever you'd like to have been done to you if you were the customer. It's not a privilege to be your customer; it's a privilege for you to service the customer. Get it straight; our generation has choices, access to competitive information and online reviews, and is getting more and more used to amazing service. I hope you can keep up.