Friday 19 May 2006

The great Watchdog give-away – Part 2

Last week I gave away some free ideas to service providers. Very briefly these very simple ideas were as follows. Firstly make sure that you have good policies that help your customers rather than get in their way and irritate them.

Secondly make sure that your organisational structure enables your staff to work together properly, to allow good ideas to emerge and circulate and for service stars to shine.

Lastly we suggested that rather than invest huge amounts of money in training your staff in how to treat customers properly, maybe you should just start off by hiring people that are naturally good at it. They can do it already. Just go to your competitors, see who does it best and offer them a pay rise if they switch to your company!

Well this week I’m going to be rash and give away a few more bright ideas. Again all for free and all have been demonstrated by providers we’ve encountered in the last few weeks.

Deny everything

So a customer calls in and tells you that there’s a problem? Simple. Just tell them that in fact they are mistaken and that there isn’t a problem at all. Keep repeating this until they go away.

We called our Internet Service Provider this week to report a problem. All of our PCs were having problems connecting and when they finally did manage to connect the connection was intermittent. Their response?

“There isn’t a problem”.

So we repeated our situation and we were just told the same.

“There isn’t a problem”.

So eventually we went away and left them alone. The approach worked. We left them alone!

Accuse them of lying

Your customers are all liars. So tell them so and they’ll leave you alone.

We’ve had a huge number of calls reporting problems with a particular cellphone shop. I’m not going to name the place, let’s just call them Cell Town.

Anyway, several people took their cellphones back to Cell Town after they developed technical problems. Some of them were eventually told the problems with their phones were self-inflicted. Others were told that since they had lost their receipt after returning their brand new phone for repair they weren’t going to get their phones back. Or their money.

So we called Cell Town and asked them for a comment. Their response was fantastic.

“They’re all lying”.

What a response! It’s simple, direct and well, who knows, maybe it’s true? Probably isn’t of course but who cares? It makes most customers go away.

Call your customers stupid

They are all stupid aren’t they? Particularly the ones that complain. Of course they are. If they were smart they’d just keep quiet and not bother you with complaints.

We had a call from someone who had gone to a PC shop to buy a replacement print cartridge. She paid cash on behalf of the company she works for and was told it would be ordered for her. Six weeks later and still without the print cartridge she asked for her money back. They refused to give her cash and said she could only have a cheque. She called us. We called them. They said she’s stupid.

Maybe she is? Probably not but so long as it gets rid of her it’s OK.

Tell them it’s their fault

Of course if there’s a problem it must be the customer’s fault. Obviously. It can’t be a manufacturers problem because that would mean it was your responsibility to fix it and we can’t have that can we?

The same cellphone shop mentioned earlier, the one we’re calling Cell Town, insists that phones returned to them because they were faulty the day after they were purchased must have been broken by the customer. On one occasion a customer was told that he should have tested the phone before he left the shop. But don’t all phones need to be charged for 12 hours or so before being used for the first time? Should he have stood in the store charging it for half a day so he could test it before leaving?

Well, yes obviously he should! It’s obviously his fault for having bought a cellphone that didn’t work when it was taken out of the box it came in. Obviously.

Steal stuff

Remember that goods are worth money so given a chance steal them from your customers.

We heard from someone who hired a builder to build her a kitchen. The builder then went and bought loads of materials from various suppliers. One of the things he did was to take the woman’s microwave oven to a supplier so they could make a cupboard to fit around it. However pretty soon the builder got into money problems and ended up owing this supplier quite a bit of money for various jobs, not just this woman’s. So what did the supplier who built the kitchen units do? He refused to return the microwave and has demanded that the woman pay them for the units they’ve constructed. However, she’s already paid the builder for the units, it’s just that he hasn’t paid his suppliers.

So the cupboard-building supplier technically has stolen the microwave oven.

So what? Maybe he’ll get her to pay again. If she doesn’t at least he’s gained a microwave!

This week’s stars!

  • Lorato at PEP at Kagiso Mall. Our caller said she was incredibly helpful, made great suggestions and was generally amazing.
  • Clifford at Mr Price at Game City. Apparently he is very polite, courteous and delivered excellent service.
  • Justice at Primi Piatti at Riverwalk who makes everything run like clockwork.

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