I promised a follow-up to the recent post on the challenge of getting through a phone system at a local furniture store. It was a three strikes, dust in your face, ugly out! And my feedback did get some attention from readers and from Steinhafels!
After publishing the post, I went to the Steinhafels website to send a comment to the President, as the Receptionist had instructed. Of course, there wasn’t a link to “Write the President” – but there was a section to comment and you could direct it to go to different departments. I sent them a link to the post. Hitting Submit, I felt a little relief. Until…The auto-response on the screen said “Your request has been submitted successfully. A representative from our company will be contacting you within the next couple of days.” What? A couple of days?
Fortunately, Lynn S., in customer service contacted me the next morning. Her email was polite, and included an apology and a statement of what they are doing to fix the problem. Great! Then I decided to call Linda personally. I got her voicemail promptly without being stuck in a loop. And she called me back to review the situation. Since she was receptive to the feedback, I let her know that the auto-response added to the irritation the night before. I was grateful she didn’t make me wait a couple of days, but at the time of sending a complaint, reading it might be a few days was NOT what I needed.
Linda did tell me that “we receive over 300 messages a day, and we try to get back to everyone with 24 hours.” She went on to say the message was to make sure they could meet that. Not exactly the answer that made me feel better. I explained, that in the interest of helping them, it is something that they should consider adjusting. Linda said she did forward the information to the Customer Service Manager. She then helped me to arrange the pick-up of our sofa and ended the call nicely.
Okay, I thought. Not bad…but are they really going to fix this? A few hours later Kevin Polaski, the Service Department Manager followed up. He left a great message about wanting to talk with me because they are working on a customer focused initiative, apologized and he wanted to hear anything else I might share. Kevin also personally greeted my husband at pick-up time.
We didn’t connect on the phone until today and Kevin gave me the information on the actions Steinhafels has been implemented for customer focus. Not because of my note, but works in progress. Somehow I seemed to have called during the transition. He again was apologetic, assured me they are working on this, and helped me with the missing coasters for the sofa – another story in itself.
To reinforce what has happened with me and Steinhafels, I was reminded of a study…
THE COST OF AN UNRESOLVED COMPLAINT
This study conducted by the Washington, DC based Technical Assistant Research Programs, Inc. found some interesting data. They found that:
- For every customer who bothers to complain, there are 26 others who remain silent.
- The average “wronged” customer will tell 8-16 people. Over 10% will tell more than 20 people.
- 91% of unhappy customers will never do business with you again.
- If you make an effort to remedy customers’ complaints, 82-95% will stay with you.
- It costs about 5 times more to attract a new customer than to keep an old one.
So, with the complaints from last week, Kevin and Steinhafels did things right since then. They were prompt in getting back to me, have taken steps to resolve this for me and others in the future and valued my input. My level of satisfaction is higher now than it would have been had everything gone right in the first place.
And…it hasn’t cost them anything but time. Off-line some have asked “what are you going to get for your troubles?” I never even thought of asking! I didn’t need a discount or free item – I needed to be taken seriously, listened to, and assured they were fixing the problem. Great sales and service doesn’t mean you need to give stuff away.
My reason for the post last week was for all us to learn how easy it can be to make customer contact harder than it needs to be. And Maggi F. let me know that posting a comment to this blog wasn’t easy either! So, we are remedying that situation. Until then, if you click on Comments below the post, it will take you to the Comment screen for you to post. If you don’t want to create an account, you can click on Anonymous and it will submit without further information.
How about you? In what situations have you done the right thing and therefore created a more loyal customer?
P.S. We do LOVE our new teen-friendly sofa!