Customer Service = Powerful PR

I’ve been feeling REALLY bad because over the last two weeks my computer crashed, I got a loaner (although I’m regretting the choice of company supposedly fixing my computer – I’m still on the loaner) and I’ve been having ongoing issues with my Internet service.  Oh yeah, the phone company for some reason because of all of my calls lately about the service up and disconnected me altogether and now tell me it’s going to be two days before they can get me up and running.  All of this is NOT MY FAULT and it’s thrown a real wrench in running my business and blogging.

Now I’m definitely stressed about all of this because it seems that no one at the phone company has the same information or can give me the correct information, until this morning.

This morning I spoke with the nicest gal (this is after being transferred three times.  Yesterday I spoke to 12 people and no one could help me).  This young lady knew I was upset as I told her my neverending story and she apologze profusely.  However, what got me was that right out of the gate this young woman was throwing one month free service, she subtracted the curreint month’s service from my bill and sent me a $75 Visa gift card.

Now, I don’t want to say that good customer service means giving stuff away to customers (although it does feel good on this end).  My point here is that out of all of the stuff I’ve been dealing with these last few weeks she is the only one who came right out of the gate to solve the issue and provide compensation for the trouble, agony, hair pulling frustration I’ve been dealing with.  Even the IT company fixing my computer has offered nothing for the inconvenience of having it for three weeks with “no real news”.

And, most importantly, let me tell you this: because this young woman left me feeling as if someone cared, someone at the phone company is “on it” and taking care of my problem and “understands” the pain and agony I’ve been going through, I’ve told EVERYONE my story – including you.  This is the best PR you can ever achieve for your business.

Certainly you don’t want someone to have a negative experience, but the reality is that not every customer is going to be happy and it’s how you deal with it (immediately with understanding and apologies) that will determine if you keep or lose that customer.  More importantly, it determines whether that person is going to refer other customers to you.

In business, today, I see a lot of bad customer service or little attention on attending to the customer.  People seem to believe that there is a large enough, neverending pool of customers that they don’t need to be concerned with keeping who they’ve got today.  It’s foolish and describes the reason why there is such a small amount of loyalty to companies.

If you want to keep a customer you’ve got to work to do it

Remember, people are willing to share their good experiences with family and friends.  If asked for a referral they want their referral to be used.  They want to know that they have done something to boost the business of a company or individual they find to be valuable.

This word-of-mouth endorsement is the most important and valuable you will ever receive for your business outside of a media story.

So the next time you’re dealing with an unhappy customer remember they power they have to bring good PR to your business, and make sure you’re quick to resolve the issue to the point the person feels they have been heard and understood.

Jennifer Fortney
Cascade Communication
Follow me on Twitter @SmallBizPRXpert and @MyStorySource

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