Are You Annoying Your Customers with Poor Customer Service?

I recently needed some work done on my basement.  While I have no complaints with the quality or timeliness of the work done, the customer service aspect was, well, lacking would be the polite descriptor.  It started with the estimator who never sent the estimate until I emailed him and asked for it.  The people who showed up to do the work did not show up when I was told they were coming.  And then the bill arrived.  Handwritten on the invoice was an address to mail the payment to and a phone number to call if I wanted to pay with a credit card.  This made me pause. If I called this number and handed over my credit card info, who exactly was I calling? Printed on the invoice was a street address with no city, state, zip code, or phone number.  The street address did match what was written, so I felt OK mailing a check. 

Two weeks later, a second bill arrived.  OK, maybe my payment crossed it in the mail.  When a third invoice arrived, hand addressed with a different company name for the return address, I looked up the phone number for the business and called.  The very nice person who answered explained that my check may have arrived in the office. However, she was working from home and had not been in to check the mail, so they might have it.  She would check and call me right back, which she did, a few days later.

Giving Great Customer Service

There are so many opportunities here I could write a chapter.  For the sake of my audience, I won’t address all of them. Starting with the estimator, whatever form he completed did not include my email address to send an estimate, and either did not include the time I would be at home, or it was not clearly communicated to the team. Either the estimator or one of the service providers should have left me with contact information. At the very least, have an updated website and Google My Business page so the customer can find your information.

I understand that not everyone is set up to accept online payments, however, it has become more affordable and is a timely way to get paid.  This business should consider it.  Preprinted invoice forms should include all the information that the customer needs to pay the invoice.  This includes the full address, a phone number for questions, and a way for me to send my credit card information.  Anything handwritten, other than “Thank you for your business!” is very suspicious.

If I hired Acme, and you are sending an invoice for Acme, everything should say Acme.  If I have never heard of and never done business with Wonka Industries, don’t expect me to open the envelope or email.

It is probably just as well that this business did not ask me for a review.  When you do give great service, ask for a review, then make it easy for the customer by sending them a text or email with the link to do the review.

While Covid has disrupted our workflows, very few businesses can afford a disruption in their cash flow.  Be sure that someone is taking and posting payments in a timely manner, especially before you go through the time and expense of generating additional invoices.

I am sure that these are very hard working folks, and they did a good job. Unfortunately, I will not call them again.

If you want to make sure your customers experience great customer service call us at 502-625-5646 or contact us online to schedule a free 30 minute Strategy Session with one of our coaches. We are ready to help you create Happy Customers, and a more profitable business.



Sandy Merritt, Business Coach in Louisville, KY