Go into any mall in any location around the world and conduct a survey. Here are a few questions you can ask.
1) On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being the least important and 10 being the most important, how important is customer service when choosing a product?
2) Answer the following question. On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being “I strongly agree” and 10 being “I strongly disagree”. When you have a problem with a purchased product it is reasonable to assume you must endure the financial loss associated with the product purchase.
3) Consider the following statement. On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being “I strongly agree” and 10 being “I strongly disagree”. I do not believe that businesses should be accountable for issues related to my purchase. I subscribe to the philosophy of buyers beware.
I could include other questions, but I think you get the general idea of what the survey results might indicate. Each answer is typically going to be answered in the vicinity of ten. Consumers want some assurance that the products and services they pay for are going to work and if they don’t work the customer wants to be equally assured that the business owner will make things right. But will they make it right?
Since customer service is highly valued virtually anywhere in the world why are there so many businesses that seem to treat customer service as an afterthought?
In defense of business owners let me say that for many businesses it is not that they are disinterested in customer service they simply have not factored that into their time budget. These business owners have so many duties in relation to marketing and management that handling customer service issues simply intrudes on the act of conducting business.
Now in defense of the average consumer let me say that most businesses have learned to make customer service a priority, so even if you have a solid business plan and are working through complicated issues related to your business when you have a failure to deliver on implied promises related to the quality and usability of a product you may find one time customers abandoning your business in favor of another. These individuals will never have anything remotely positive to pass along about your company.
Is it fair?
Maybe not, but it is fact.
Do you have a return policy? Do you have a replacement policy? Do you have a price guarantee policy? How much effort is too much in working to ensure a satisfied customer?
Some businesses will not only refund money or replace the product, but they may also supply a generous discount on the customer’s next purchase if there are justifiable issues related to the consumer purchase.
With the Internet, less than satisfied customers may make you aware of problems quickly. For many online business owners 24 hours may be too long to respond to a customer’s grievance. When it comes to customer service your quick response can spell the difference between success and failure in your business.