When I got home a few nights ago, I found a hand-written note in my letterbox. The message asked me to call a man urgently. I didn’t know the man but I expected there may have been a problem in the neighbourhood that I needed to know about – maybe my dog had been barking?
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
The note was from a Vita Group customer who wanted to make a complaint. I had never met him before but he had driven for more than an hour to leave this message in my letterbox at home.
So, of course I called him to find out more. He was a polite and rational man, and he told me that he had made the decision to get in contact with me personally because he was so exasperated with a situation.
I learned that the gentleman’s wife had bought a phone from one of our stores, but there was a technical fault. They had taken the phone back to their local Vita Group store to be fixed. I also learned that his wife had recently had her first child, so it was important that she had a phone so she could be in contact at all times.
The problem (in addition to the initial problem of the faulty phone) was that her phone had been in for repairs for three weeks and they weren’t satisfied with the response as to why it was taking so long.
So to cut a long story short…he found out that I was the CEO of Vita Group. He jumped in his car, drove to my house and left a note in the letterbox.
I know that there are always two sides to any story, but my first thought was: “How on earth did this situation get to this?”
My second thought was: “It just shows that we can never be complacent”. The situation was a reminder to me, that however good we think we are at customer service, we’re not perfect…and we don’t get it right every time.
Don’t get me wrong … our team members do a wonderful job!
I am constantly in awe of their commitment and dedication to our customers, I hear numerous stories of how they deliver great levels of service and I’m proud of the way we make our customers our priority and deliver a personalised customer service. We do it better than any of our peers and we’ll keep doing it that way.
But when you get down to the root cause, it comes down to the individual team member. Are they having a good day or a bad day? Is there something worrying them (whether about work or not)?
And then we need look to at what we’re doing as an organisation. Are team members feeling well supported by the company? Have we done everything possible to kick the work day off effectively? Are we enabling their customer service activities through clear, simple systems and processes? The list goes on and on.
We have to know that our job is never done. We have to remind ourselves that there is always room from improvement. And there is always room to drive greater consistency across our business.
In the end, we helped the man who left me a message – of course we did. He was happy about that and I received a lovely email from his wife.
So as I sit here and reflect on this interaction with one of our customers, I thank them for a number of things. Firstly: for coming to me with their issue; secondly for allowing us to fix our mistake; and thirdly for becoming advocates of the Vita Group. But most importantly, I thank them both for reminding me that our job in delivering the best possible, personalised customer experience is never done!