COSTLY EXPENSE OF POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE
Companies across all industries exercise tremendous marketing efforts to ensure previous, current, and potential new customers that “the customer is king” and that customer service is something that is taken very seriously. But how can it be that most of us still come across more truly negative than truly positive experiences – experiences that we instantly share with all of our friends and family?
TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES & LOST OPPORTUNITIES
Last week, my wife and I got stuck at the airport. We had our flights booked with Spirit Airlines and had a connecting flight in Florida. Due to technical difficulties, we missed our connecting flight, which was the last one of the day. What a great opportunity for the airline to show its true colors. If the customer is king, and great customer service is provided, you’d think that the few of us that missed our connecting flight would be taken care of–arrangements made to most efficiently solve the problem at hand, as well as attempt to do something about the inconvenience. Instead, we were made to feel that we didn’t matter and that our time wasn’t valuable.
Why is this happening and how should it be fixed? The customer-facing employees know it, see it, hear it, and feel it, but do NOTHING about it. Many times they can’t. They’re simply not allowed to based on the structure and rules set by their company. They aren’t empowered and don’t have the option to create happy customers. Sometimes, it’s simply a fact that they don’t care. Meanwhile, your marketing department and agency are working hard to on-board new customers, retain and keep current customers loyal, and win-back those who’ve left. They’ve even provided incentives and internal marketing platforms for their teams, but it’s apathy and and lack of motivation from the customer-facing employees. If this divide isn’t conquered, your customers will soon be on the path to offboarding.
NEUTRAL IS NOTHING
In my point of view, we were at a neutral customer experience level since we were not really “losing” or “gaining” anything. However, as mentioned above, this was a great chance for Spirit Airlines to really shine, turn me into a loyal customer, and make me willing to spread the good news about their company. All it takes is to do A LITTLE BIT MORE. In this one experience, they could have made me and the other 20 customers happy, and in turn, we would have spread great news about the company (for free), and would have most likely been on the path to becoming truly loyal customers.
HOW SPIRIT COULD HAVE CREATED LOYAL CUSTOMERS?
- Assure each customer that everything possible is being done to find an optimal solution – this doesn’t cost anything.
- Then, accommodate your customers adequately and provide them with flexible food vouchers that buy them more than just an apple and a muffi
- Reimburse them for cost incurred such as a non-refundable hotel night.
- Provide a flight voucher or upgrade for their next flight, which only costs the company a fraction of the value anyway.
How can the “A LITTLE BIT MORE” approach work when such a divide exists between marketing and customer service?