Advancing Nonprofit Capacity

What is Customer Service Worth to You?

Today’s blog is by JWS Associate Julie Jardine.

Good customer service is a money saver and money maker. According to a 2013 study by Dimensional Research, 95% of customers share their bad experiences with others. And 66% of customers stop buying after a bad customer service. Those who have positive past experiences spend 140% more compared to those who have had poor past experiences.

I recently had some Super 8 mm films transferred to a DVD movie for a family reunion. The local company (I like to support local businesses) said meeting the deadline we requested was no problem. Great. Dropped off the film. Family reunion came and went and the DVDs were still not ready. In fact, it wasn’t until a week after the reunion that the company called to say I could pick them up.

I asked the owner what he thought a fair adjustment was since (1) they did not meet their promised deadline (2) I would now have to send the DVD’s all over the United States instead of giving them to family members at the reunion. He offered no apology and a 10% discount.

I told him my review on Yelp would reflect my disappointment. I also said as a business owner myself, I know that it costs five times as much to undo the damage from one unsatisfied customer as it does to acquire one new customer. I also told him that in the rare case when I’ve missed a deadline, I offer the services at a great discount or offer to do something pro bono the next time. I apologize. I initiate the offer of a discount.

The owner was less than happy with me and didn’t feel a bad review on Yelp was warranted. I didn’t feel a 10% discount was fair based on the missed deadline, the cost of the service, the additional mailing costs, and his overall rudeness.

In the end, the angry business owner told me to take the DVD and leave. I did. I would have been happy to pay a fair adjusted price. I also would have appreciated an apology and if he had initiated a discount. But he didn’t do any of those things. Rather than do the smart thing, he did the rude thing. And he lost a customer for good.

What does good customer service mean to you?



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