It Only Takes One Minute to Make or Break Customer Loyalty

Kristi Keller

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A customer service experience can potentially make or break an entire business. Maybe not so much for larger corporations but in the grand scheme of things, shouldn’t the goal be customer retention?

And shouldn’t an even bigger goal be new customer acquisition? Nobody is going to recommend a business that sucks at customer service.

I did a quick Google search and found 37 stats you didn’t know about customer service. The first 8 stats alone are staggering! Why aren’t businesses more aware of these? And if they’re aware of them, why don’t they care?

I’m the type of person who would buy an entirely new car based on customer service alone. In fact, I have. I don’t need a fancy car but I do need to know the company selling it cares about its customers.

Recently, I was on the receiving end of one outstanding and one horrible customer service experience. They happened back to back, within five minutes of each other.

There’s no mystery as to which company I stayed with and which one I left within minutes after each phone call.

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The Good Experience

I received my cell phone bill and it was double what it normally is. A little shocked, I immediately called my provider to ask why.

It didn’t take customer service long to tell me that I’d sent hundreds of text messages to phone numbers that were not inside my coverage area.

GULP. Yes, I did. I went on vacation and have been keeping in touch with people I met. I never even thought about the texts incurring charges because I’m so used to using data through Whatsapp.

I owned up to the charges and thanked her for clarifying the issue for me. Then she told me to wait on the line for a moment.

When she came back a few minutes later she informed me that she’d credited the ENTIRE amount back to my account. It was over $65.00.

I was stumped. I had owned up to the charges. I wasn’t arguing with them, just inquiring about them. But she said that since I’ve been a loyal customer for over nine years she could definitely reverse the charges since it was an honest oversight on my part.

I will NEVER leave this cell phone provider based on this one interaction alone.

The Bad Experience

This next one happened on the same day. I literally made this call five minutes later.

My auto insurance recently came up for renewal and I saw that my monthly premium had skyrocketed, despite the fact that I’ve never once made an insurance claim in all my years with this company.

I called to ask why it had increased so much. The woman on the other end of my phone told me that I’m one day past the renewal period so it was unlikely she could help me.

I reiterated that I was calling to find out why it increased. She then spun it around and asked me why I waited until the end of the renewal period to call.

In my head, I was already saying, “Listen lady, you’re testing my ability to be a decent person here.”

But instead, I said, “I don’t know why I waited. Possibly because I have a life I’m busy with? Can you just tell me why my rates have increased so drastically?”

She put me on hold, probably pretending to give a shit, then came back on the line to tell me there was nothing she could do. I wasn’t asking her to DO anything, I just wanted to know why. She never gave me an answer.

I hung up on her, point-blank, and called another insurance company for a quote. The new company came in at $60 less per month. WIN and SWITCH.

Since the advent of social media and Google ratings available for the world to view, why aren’t businesses more concerned with their conduct and the people they hire to represent them?

I read reviews before I make any decision to try out a new service or business, and surely I’m not the only one.

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It takes nothing for the average Joe to go online to leave slanderous comments, bad reviews, and low ratings for any business. Believe me, that’s exactly what I intend to do with my horrible experience with my EX-insurance company.

If that insurance representative would have just nicely explained why my rates increased and left it at that, I would have been satisfied. Sure, I still would have shopped around for a better deal, but I wouldn’t be inclined to badmouth them and prevent future business for them.

As for the good experience, I asked the customer service rep for her name. My phone company always sends out survey emails inquiring about our last interactions. I told her I would be filling out the survey this time, instead of deleting it, and I want to make sure I name her for outstanding service.

You scratch my back I’ll definitely scratch yours. And I’ll stay loyal.

The secret to success is to treat all customers as if your world revolves around them because, in essence, it does.

It may not impact a business if only one customer leaves, but what if a hundred left in a day? Surely they’d feel that sting.

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I'm an old school travel writer who's been flung into another writing world through life experience. I have a compassionate eye, a different opinion, and strong words for this world we live in. I also know a thing or two.

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