Your Small Business has the opportunity to deliver a unique customer service experience because no…
Have You Backed Up Your Technology Lately?
Sure, I saw the reminder to back up my mobile phone to my laptop but I didn’t do it. And now my lack of action is causing me to lose valuable time away from my business. The enormity of the loss is only being realised as I attempt to complete a task and it takes me longer than it should. How long would it have taken to save my time and my sanity? Moments, only moments.
This morning I checked emails on my mobile and sent a congratulatory text to a friend who gained a new job after an eight-month search and at the same time, I received confirmation I had secured a new client. The planets were aligning. Aaah.
And then half an hour later, I noticed it … or rather the lack of “it”. My mobile phone’s screen was blank. The power light was flashing but I couldn’t activate the screen. I couldn’t receive or make calls. I couldn’t check emails and I knew I was going to be away from my laptop for most of the day. Uh oh!
In the corporate world, I would have referred to the Business Continuity Plan. It would recommend I contact the IT division. And they’d have me up and running in no time. Now, in my Small Business world, I lamented not taking up that offer on my laptop to back up my phone when it popped up.
Between meetings, I trotted off to my communications service provider. Being on my third two-year business plan contract with them and a “valued customer”, (their words, not mine) I didn’t expect it to be a challenge to assist me. But alas, I was there for an hour. And, if that’s how they treat “valued” customers, I’d hate to see how they treat a new customer.
I’m a “valued customer” but where was the customer service?
For me, after we had worked out how long it would take for the phone to be repaired (tip: allow 5 days), my greatest concern was in relation to the replacement phone while waiting for mine to come back (I’m ever the optimist). Although I was on a plan which included the phone, calls, text and data, the provider was willing to provide me with a phone, for free, on which I could call and text only. The proposed phone would not enable me to access emails, a necessary element when I visit my clients at their office and am away from my laptop most days.
The disappointment in customer service became poignant when, for only another $20, the in-store assistant had to seek approval from someone on the end of their phone to match the service I was currently paying for. This need to escalate my expectation took time, but more obvious to me was the lack of trust placed in the in-store assistant to make this decision.
Do you really value your “valued customers”?
Do you, as a Small Business owner provide your staff with training and permission to solve a customer’s problem easily and without escalation? Sure, I understand a $ limit needs to be imposed but the negative impact I, a “valued customer”, experienced all for $20 highlighted unnecessary bureaucracy. When their language and values did not align with their actions, I become annoyed at being a “valued customer”. Being valued didn’t seem to matter much.
From my experience, I wish you to consider two actions, one for you and one for your business:
- Take time to work on the ‘not urgent, but important’ tasks – back up your mobile phone now.
- Consider the consequences if you haven’t given sufficient permission and training to enable your employees to provide customers with an easy and quick solution to their problem.
Avoid turning a valued customer into one who will be looking more closely at the competition next time they have a need.
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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