Customer Service – Is It Worth It?

I love working with local companies and recently had the opportunity to, when I was looking for some bespoke furniture as part of a home renovation project. I was passionate about the project and the particular element this company was selling was key to the whole thing looking just how I wanted it to. How easy should that sale have been? The customer service, however, was sub-optimal.

The salesman decided to tell me all about how incredible the price of this product was (cost – not value) and compared it to a national competitor, which until he mentioned them (several times), I’d never heard of.

Did this help the sale? No.

Was price a factor when choosing this particular furniture? No.

Where did he get this idea? Certainly from nothing I said! Style, colour and fit to my needs were on my mind. He could have asked me why I was changing the furniture in the first place, or how the particular piece I wanted fitted into my overall plans (now that might have given him a few clues that price wasn’t the driver here!) or even just come out and asked me if price came into the picture at all.

He didn’t realise it, but the way he was talking was making it harder for him to make the sale, when it should have been easy! After all, I really wanted the product!

Despite the poor salesman, I loved the quality of the end product, so once the quote had been delivered (by hand as he didn’t trust email!) it was time to move onto the next stage of the sale – the deposit. Anticipating a keen supplier ready to take my money, I tried to put down a not – insubstantial amount of cash to secure the delivery date discussed during the sales pitch I had endured!

I would have preferred to email my acceptance but alas this company only accepted phone orders.

So I rang and rang and rang….. Eventually a lengthy answering message kicked in and asked me to call back……. Which I did, and I did (yawn…)

The following day, eventually, a human being answered the phone – only he couldn’t find my paperwork!

He did go and look (or so he said) but as I could hear everything going on while he had me on hold ( not even muted or Vivaldi’s Four Seasons to listen to!) He then told me my promised delivery dates were no longer available and that perhaps if I had responded quicker to the quote they would have been! Oh and by the way I couldn’t book a date in today as he needed me to pay a deposit and couldn’t do that as he didn’t have my paperwork. Arg!

This is an example of what happens when we forget about service.

We all lead busy lives and have to-do lists that are beyond the capacity of the average human to complete. But when we get consumed in our world and we forget about service, the cost of our busyness increases significantly.

Complaints can come direct, via social media and by word of mouth and we all know that bad news travels faster than good news and I’ve shared this story with several people already.

So how can we ensure we deliver customer service that connects with our customers needs?

We could start by understanding our customers a little more. The Whole Brain Model delivers a perfect starting point in helping us be aware of the customer’s thinking preferences. We can then consciously communicate and provide service in a way that immediately resonates with them as an individual.

And, I hear you asking, what happened with the sale? Well, despite wanting not to, I persevered – and the next customer milestone is the delivery date, which I have finally arranged. Let’s just say this company can count themselves lucky that my heart was so set on this piece of furniture – many other customers would not have persevered.