I have a name for my pain and it is Telecom. This week I have had to change my provider of telecommunications services on the back of several email outages by Telecom which has impacted both my business and our personal communications.
When it comes to major corporations that provide goods and services to the public, a simple question needs to be asked: "why do they cast customer service to the four winds?".
Over the years, I have been what could be called a loyal, but at times indifferent, customer. I have seen the squillions that they invest in advertising their state of the art products. But advertising to entice a sale is totally different to delivering customer service.
Suffice to say, I have never been "in love" with the brand, so when I started to deal with email outages and their Filipino help desk's denial that I was actually experiencing problems, the timing of the bright and innovative Slingshot brochure could not have been better.
The root cause of issues and unhappiness for any customer is the level of consistent, good customer service. It is more than just "yay we have made a sale", it is about the ongoing relationship that you have with your customers.
The buying public are not like the female lead in Jerry Maguire and they are not going to treat a supplier of goods and services with "you had me at hello". But for some reason, people in business (and the Telecoms of this world are a great example) are all about "show me the money".
When I ask around, the vast majority of people do not understand how any business can get to a point of size and scope and then determine that it is not important to invest in the very things that make the business successful in the first place - serving its customers.
Just as a human being cannot exist without oxygen, no business can survive for any particular length of time by forsaking its customers. So, just as our environment needs to be looked after to ensure a supply of clean air, a business also needs to look after its customers to ensure a flow of future work.
However, it doesn't end there. Telecom did not advise me when my email would be cut off and, guess what?, yesterday without warning ... no email.
The key risk for businesses when they forsake their customers is the "Rachel Hunter" effect. I tell two friends and they tell two friends and so on.
It doesn't happen overnight, but it does happen. I guess writing a column speeds that up a bit too.
So to Telecom, I say goodbye and I won't be looking back. However, our incumbent has much to learn also. Slingshot, if you are listening and I hope you are, here are a few tips for you:
Don't leave your new customers on hold for more than 15 minutes before they get to speak to a human. You need to plan for growth and serve your new customers well.
How about adding some real music to alleviate the boredom? Some Foo Fighters would be good.
Have ready for all your new email customers, a step-by-step guide on how to transfer all of their emails to your service. Take note, the No1 reason that dissatisfied Telecom customers don't transfer to other operators - they think it's too much of a hassle
Thank goodness there are businesses here who get customer service and deliver it well, it makes up for the stress the big boys cause.
Zenith Solutions is a Wanganui based consulting business specialising in strategic planning and making businesses more effective. Contact Russell on 021 2442421 or email@example.com