How Feedback Can Make or Break a Relationship

I think it is interesting to observe what companies are doing in marketing and sales during the current situation and look for lessons or ideas that either I or my clients might be able to learn from.

This week gave me three opportunities to do just that with very different customer service experiences.

Given the current economic climate, you might expect companies to be on their guard for retaining loyal customers and being seen to go beyond the norm to win business…….or it appears not.

Customer Service Experience #1 – Skullcandy Headphones

A couple of months ago I bought some over the ear headphones for my youngest. Within a few weeks, the constant use had taken its toll and there were a couple of issues. Now, these are nowhere near the top of the line headphones but you would hope they had some robustness.

This week I received an email from Staples to review another product I had bought from them and when I did that the system offered me the opportunity to review my purchase of the headphones too. I gave it 2 stars and commented on my disappointment.

I guessed that was the end of it.

Not the case. Less than a few hours later I had a reply on the review from Skullcandy apologizing for the poor experience and clear instructions on how to go about claiming a warranty replacement, a process itself that was easy to complete.

Needless to say, I was impressed, enough to tell you!

Customer Service Experience #2 – Little Caesars Pizza

The other day was particularly hectic and I was rushing to order some take out food for the kids before jumping on a lengthy online call. In my rush to order the pizza, I requested pick-up form the store at the opposite end of town from where I normally pick them up.

I arrived at my normal store, realized my mistake and found I did not have enough time to drive and pick them up. I went back home, ordered for delivery and then sent a hopeful note to Little Caesars customer service asking if they would consider a refund even though it was my error.

A couple of hours later I had an email advising me I had not picked up my order in the allotted time and that they would be refunding my money. no questions asked! This was particularly surprising given these are franchise stores, so I am not sure if corporate covers this or not.

Needless to say, I was impressed, enough to tell you.

Customer Service Experience #3 – EVoice.com

For the last 5 plus years, my business telephone number has been serviced through an online system that takes messages, transcribes them in an email to me and also tries to track me down first before going to voicemail. A simple yet effective service and that is all I use it for.

This week I received an email addressed just Dear Valued Customer (how valued am I if you do not even use my name?) advising me that with effect in two weeks my monthly fee was increasing by over 40% AND the grandfathered discount I was getting was being cut by 40%.

My math may be a bit off but I am calculating that as around a 63% price increase!

I reached out to customer service via online chat and e-mail with similar results. Very sorry, nothing they could do, company decision etc etc.

The e-mail response did suggest I call, which I did to get a similar reply. They did escalate to a supervisor who called me back but still gave me the same response.

No-one in customer service was doing anything wrong because they had not been empowered to do anything except repeat what marketing had told them to say. But even in the best of economic times how can a company justify a 60+% price increase to a loyal customer (soon not be one).

Perhaps those in senior positions at eVoice feel they don’t have to justify it at all and that is their choice, but perhaps they have lost sight of the fact that customers have choices too.

Needless to say, I was NOT impressed, enough to tell you.

Do you have any examples like this good, bad or ugly that you have experienced over the last few months? I would love to hear in the comments below.

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