Frontline Mom

Three Sins of Customer Service

August 20, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Few things bug me more than a business that claims me to be their customer when they don’t treat me like one. A few examples:

Example one: “Thank you (not) for your business”.
My daughter was in a gymnastics class for two years. She loved the class, and each month I set aside hard-earned money to ensure she could attend. After two years, it was time for her to move on as she no longer could attend the class given a schedule conflict. I contacted the gymnastics program: “My daughter has loved your program but starting next month she will no longer be able to attend, can you cancel her enrollment please?” The response was stark and simple: “Yep, we’ll do that”

WHAT? No “thank you for your business. We’re sorry to hear that your daughter is moving on. Thank you for your business. Do you have someone else in your family or a friend who could benefit from the class?” Nothing. Nada. Truth be told, I had planned to enroll my younger son in this class but of course, given this stellar customer service I decided against it!

Example two: “We don’t know you”.
I recently went to my local branch of Bank of America. For an official form I was asked to get a Bank Manager to witness my signature. The Bank Manager refused to honor my request saying that they can’t witness signatures because they can’t profess to “know me.” What? I have been doing business with this same bank for five years at least, have a credit card with them, had a mortgage with them (they sold my mortgage to another bank), and I’ve run in several Bank of America sponsored races. Ok, thanks – you don’t know me? You know everything about me – my home value, my current assets, what I spend my money on…even my race t-shirt size and my race times! I love when businesses want your money but don’t want to admit having a relationship with you.

Example three: “No follow-up”.
My daughter also recently took a dance class at our local park district. She really enjoyed it, but I couldn’t stand the fact that that dance teacher did not make any effort to update the parents as to the progress of our children. No forms sent home, no closing recital, no classes open for parents to attend a session. Apparently this dance instructor forget who the really customers are (the parents). When parents inquired, the teacher responded, “they did fine.” Well, the class and the kids might have been just fine, but with no follow-up or feedback, this dance school did not do fine by me, losing my trust and my business.

Lesson learned: Having a customer isn’t a given right. It takes work, personal engagement, follow-up and appreciation. Customers can and will vote with their feet. Don’t take us for granted…We can go elsewhere. I know, I just did.