Have you ever wondered what happened to customer service?

 

How Many Choices Do Consumers Have

Mergers are happening across multiple industries. Years ago, banks led the way seemingly off that cliff.. Since 2008 many industries have been impacted. The examples run from airlines to retailers, including Staples, Toys R Us, mobile companies (the latest being the Sprint takeover by T-Mobile).

young woman falling asleep on bed fully dressed

Plus some pet retailers have were forced into bankruptcy or absorbed into larger companies that are already dominating the market. Sometimes customer service levels have stayed high but the transitions aren’t always smooth with expansion.

Other changes such as Amazon, acquiring Whole Foods, Petsmart buying Chewy and Petco purchasing the mail order pet retailer, Drs. Foster and Smith, feel like fewer choices and these companies are becoming monopolies. What are they doing to maintain high customer service levels.

It seems in some cases that this trend hasn’t been a totally positive experience for us consumers.

 

Customer Service With an Emphasis on Service

I personally enjoyed shopping on the website www.jet.com. They had some of the best prices, plus were stiff competition for both Amazon and Walmart, even though they were much smaller. The cherry on the top was they also had one of the best customer service teams I’ve ever encountered.

Online retail services are convenient and are often vital suppliers for people with health and mobility issues. I used them for 100% of my household and personal purchases. I’m sure I’m not the only person in that boat. Unfortunately, they were also absorbed by a bigger chain, (Walmart). So they are not an independent online retailer anymore. Instead, they’ve become a cog in a big retail wheel. But, back to my story.

I can’t prove it, but I’m confident I was one of their best and most loyal customers for almost two years, after discovering them via a Google search. If I had shipping or quality issues, I simply called and spoke to a “Jethead” their quirky name for their customer service agents. Nine times out of ten they offered me one of these three options as a resolution. They would  reship the original order, a credit (as in refund, not site credit) for my order, a promotional credit to be used on future purposes, or a combo of at least two of these forms of compensation. How’s that for real customer service?

 

BIG Customer Service Miss

Contrast this with another customer service exchange that’s similar to the ones I’ve had with other vendors. The agent apologizes, which is a good start until she says it’s your job (or responsibility) to arrange for the return. There’s only one shipping option which is USPS, which means getting to the post office. They no longer expedite customer shipments using the expedited shipping carriers like FedEx or UPS. Mind you, this is after you’ve alerted them to the issue days before the shipment arrived. PLUS you’ve already made a replacement order.

wrecked car parked at the foot of a mountain

What a Wreck

When you request some type of compensation or discount for the order that ultimately took three weeks instead of the original three days which is clearly indicated in the item’s description, they conveniently inform you it will cost THEM money to provide expedited return shipping.

After spending three to five phone calls, two hours and  probably five or six reps (between the vendor and the shipper) from my perspective, they should have been Paying ME to handle the issue.

Sorry for the rant, I mean detailed example.

I’m sure you can clearly see the retailer was definitely dropping the ball. It clearly comes down to the company’s neglect or perceived lack of care to their customer base.

Bring Service Back to Customer Service

Eventually, we customers will get tired of feeling like we’re not important to the service providers we use. That’s especially when they’re more concerned with their bottom line than the people who keep them in profit.

As a small business owner I know that’s not the way you want your customers and clients to feel.

 

If the only time they hear from you is when they receive an appointment reminder or the end of the year Hanukkah or Christmas card, this is the perfect time to turn over a new leaf.

How? I’m glad you asked.

Maintain Regular Communication

You can start a weekly or monthly blog post to share tips or answer those frequently asked questions you get all the time. It’s another way to provide a service and I guarantee your customers and clients will appreciate you doing something extra to service them and their four-legged babies.

Before you protest that you don’t have time, you can add it to your calendar and start slowly. It doesn’t have to be a Pulitzer prize-winning essay. Just talk to your customers like you would if they were seeing you face-to-face.

Plan Your Goals

Don’t put pressure on yourself to write a ton of blog posts from scratch either, If time is truly an issue that’s one of the reasons I started Share Your News. I’m here to help you begin or reset a habit of blogging. I’m making a fun adjustment to those services to save you time.

  1. Go here to find out when my new blogging services are ready.
  2. Tell me of a good customer service experience you’ve had in this season of Covid-19. I know they exist but I’d love to give a “shout out” to the organizations and front line staff who are 10X the concept of “going the extra mile”

They deserve the kudos we can give them every day!  

Pam