Communicating Service

In my years as an entrepreneur, I have found that the foundation and one key element for success in business is great customer service.  You can do a lot of things right and not succeed if you do not have great customer service.  People will not remember the name of your company if you offer the lowest price, but they will remember your name if you offend them or just offer lousy customer service.

Much of customer service comes down to communication – how we say it makes a huge difference to a customer.  Websites give us the opportunity to have a 24/7 customer service department offering answers to questions and guarantees to assure our customers of our intent.  These 24/7 departments also give customers the ability to go back and look at your guarantee again after you have delivered or failed to deliver on your promise.

I recently purchased an online ebook or course that was recommended to me by a colleague.  I purchased the book for $49 downloaded it and read it over the next day.  I was unimpressed with the content and actually felt that I had been advertised to during the entire content of the book and encouraged to buy other courses offered by the same company.  I vaguely remembered that there was a money back guarantee on the website so I went back to see what it was:

no hassle guarantee

So I emailed the company and said I was unhappy with the content of the course and did not find it worth $49 and requested a refund.  The same day I received this email from the company:

Hi Dana,

We’re happy to help you. However, we need to get managerial approval on all refunds. As a result, we process refunds once a week.

I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.


Abby, Customer Service

Simple, no-hassle, for any reason … but they failed to mention it needs “managerial approval” which implies that a manager could deny the refund which would mean “for any reason” is not true.  Four days later I received this email:

Hi Dana,

I have refunded your purchase and sent you the invoice. The refund should hit your account in the next few days.

So I did pass the muster and received a refund. But the question is how do I feel about it? And how did I feel about the company while I waited on “managerial approval”? I felt like I was on trial or awaiting judgement. I have no idea if the company intended to make a customer feel that way, but what resonated with me was how a simple communication can be felt by a customer.

Great customer service is not just about having the promises and always doing the right thing. Great customer service is about how you make customers feel. We are living in a society that now relies on electronic communication and the art of how we can make someone feel with words is key to how we try to express customer service on the internet.

Try to act like a customer and review your website and review the emails you send out and see how they make you feel, are you communicating service? are you communicating great service?

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