Why is good customer service so rare?

I never really thought much about customer service until I started my working life. I was 22, just finished uni and landed a job with the national airline carrier Sabena. At the time I didn’t quite realise Sabena was actually a frontrunner in Belgium in terms of Customer Service. Who would have guessed? All new recruits  followed a 3 months training program around customer service, the airline business etc. 3 Months training!  Those were the good times.  

One learning opened my mind:

A complaining customer is a returning customer.

Indeed. If you, as a customer, go through the pain of complaining – because let’s be honest, nobody (ok, give or take a few exceptions) likes to complain for the fun of it – it means you care. It means you’ll probably want to buy this service again and thus want the company to set things right.

Since that time this insight has been my guideline throughout my marketing career, but also in my private life. Before I had never experienced anyone, least of all my parents, to complain about a service or product that let them down. This was just not done. But I took it on board full-heartedly. 

And the results have been disappointing. I can easily sum up a rits of bad customer experiences that happened to me over the course of the last year, but that would be a post in itself. 

To find a few outstanding customer delighters.. quite a bit harder.

I wonder why. Really. 

A complaining customer is an advertising opportunity.

Why do so few companies realise this? A happy customer is the best advertising a company or brand can wish. So why not try a bit harder to set things right where they have gone wrong, and make a disappointed customer a happy one?

I guarentee you that this last customer will triple the word-of-mouth effect. 

I have even seen people spontaneously post positive WOM on their facebook pages.

A small investment for a big impact. What’s not to like?

So tell me, why do so few companies realise this?

 

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The darkest hour lights up my creativity.

4 AM. I look at my phone, and yes. It is exactly 4:00 AM. Again.

I woke up from a dream which had nothing to do with work, my head filled with ideas for work.

Does this happen to you?

The brain works in mysterious ways.

This has been happening to me a lot lately. I don’t think I can call it insomnia, usually I fall straight back to sleep, at least if I ‘ve had the chance to write my ideas down. If not, I ‘ll lie tossing and turning all night.

In no time I had written in my head the ‘about’ section of my e-commerce platform.

So I quickly slipped into my slippers, and ran down to get a paper and pen, to jot down some notes that will hopefully help me in editing the full text as I heard it in my mind.

Normally I have my ipad next to the bed just-in-case. The fact that it lights up makes it easier than pen & paper where you need to swith on the light and risk getting some comments from the disturbed sleeper next to you.

I recently read an article inthe Huffington Post in which Frank Lloyd Wright was said to have been his most productive between 4 and 7 am. 

I guess it makes sense. 

What is true luxury?

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Is it the latest IT bag? An invitation to the much hyped opening of that new gallery?  Driving circles around town in a fab car, unable to find a parking spot?

Or is it, as often touted, time?

I can get the time bit, but let’s try to be a bit more specific here.

Time to do what with?

Time to enjoy doing nothing? Yes, of course, but only for so long. About half an hour in my case. Then what?

Time to explore? There are definitely a lot of things and places to explore on this earth. My list includes Bhutan, Kasjmir, Peru, Mexico, New-Zealand, Laos, Cambodia, Japan, .. Actually I’ll stop here, as there is an Atlas for what I’m doing here.

Time to experience? Experience new feelings, or rather exhilarating extreme sports?

Time to discover? New cultures, new people, new corners in your local city. New blogs and new artists. There is so much out there.

Time to enjoy beauty on this world, in all its forms. Everyday we are immersed in news and current affairs that are seldom making us feel better. Taking time out to enjoy beauty is true luxury in my eyes. And beauty is everywhere. It can be fleeting in the form of a cloud – if you don’t look up, you’ll never see it. It can be be ages old; the sun shining true the golden leafs of a centuries old tree in your favorite forest. It can be the perfect black spots on the flaming red wings of a ladybug that just happens to land on your sunglasses.

It can be the beautifully crafted wood of the family hierloom antique library. You touch it and it feels so soft and smooth.

It is for sure in the eyes of your lover when he/she whispers how much they love you, at a random moment in daily life.

Wherever it is, see it, touch it, hold it close to your heart, as beauty makes time stand still.  Beauty is what makes life worthwhile. Beauty is true luxury.

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Getting started.

Last night I woke up in the middle of the night, as is usual these last couple of weeks, with the thought : I have to start a blog. A start-up blog.  I want to share this experience, and hopefully get some useful comments on the way. So here I go. My first start-up blog-post.

I’ve been full-time working on making my idea happen for a couple of weeks now.  I’m researching, contacting partners, learning lots of new stuff everyday, and relentlessly finetuning my concept. It is an exhilarating journey. I never imagined there was so much to learn about e-commerce.  Wow.  I know better now.  5-6 weeks on from where I started talking to developers. In my initial timeline, I would launch in 2 weeks. I am nowhere close. I am still learning about e-commerce platforms, their pro’s and cons, the implications of shipping & packaging, international customs duties & levies. And so on.  Maybe I want to know too much. Maybe I’m just a control freak and I need to learn to let go, and just dive in, without knowing how deep the water is. But it helps if the water is clear, and you can see the bottom, and possible rocks, sharks etc.. wouldn’t you agree ?

So today is another day of searching for the light. I’m going to research Prestashop as an alternative to Shopify and Jimdo.

Yep, I started out with the dream of building a custom e-commerce site, but hey, I’m just not ready for that kind of investment. I need to start with a manageable expense and work from there. At least that’s what all my friends in the know tell me. And I guess they’re right.

I’ll also look for inspiration and research a bit more into start-up stories of e-commerces and platforms that I admire such as The Grommet and AHAlife.

But first 30 mins of yoga, to get my blood flowing to my brain.

Happy Monday.

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” Just do it ”

Nike

” Just do it ” …