Could a $30 part cost you a $3,000 sale? How about 9 little words?
A tale about customer service and why you need a social media policy in place, right now.
Long story short, I’m an avid mountain biker. I live at the base of all things, a mountain (go figure) and I try to ride at least an hour every day. When it comes to two wheels I’m very experienced having raced road bicycles long distance back in the late 70’s, raced motorcycles both on road and off in the 80’s.
I’ve been shopping for a new bike. I know exactly what I want. It’s not cheap. Unfortunately, it’s not available yet, but will be in a few months.
Recently I blew a fork seal on my aging mountain bike. I’ve got to keep my bike running for a few more months. The new seal was a $23 part. I don’t have the time or proper tools so I went down to the shop that I planned on buying the bike from. They ordered the part (charged me double) and labor to install. I was ok with both, we all need to make money – right?
This weekend was the first time I’ve been able to take the bike for a ride. When I got home I did my usual post ride cleaning job and noticed right away that something was wrong. The fork was working just fine but had a chunk out of the slider and a deep scratch in the top tube. The scratch isn’t a good thing as that surface needs to be clean and grit free to make the seal last (hence my post ride wipe downs). Essentially that scratch means the new seal will fail as well.
So I popped in today to the bike store and mentioned it to the head mechanic. The junior mechanic that actually did the work on the bike was standing nearby. He overheard and said, “I saw that scratch when it first came in”. To which the head mechanic asked “…did you notate that on the work order?” He said he did not at which point we collectively rolled our eyes. I know for a fact there was no scratch when I brought it in. I wipe that area clean after each ride. The head mechanic knew it too. He suggested I bring the bike in and and he would see what he could do. Truth is, there’s not much they can do. I’m screwed.
Essentially here’s what just happened:
The customer had a legitimate complaint. The complaint was brought to the right person. While in the process of ‘addressing the issue’ another employee, in an effort to save face, destroyed the work in process. While the customer may not always be right, it’s always in the best interest for the company to try to satisfy the customer.
Moral of the Story:
I got to thinking about it, what if this same event happened online? (it easily could have) Let’s say you own the company. What policy do you have in place to address it? Does your social media policy dictate what employees can say about their work? Do you allow them to interject into a twitter conversation between your customer service department and the customer? What about how they feel about their managers and bosses? What’s strictly off limits and what’s ok? If your policy isn’t already in place and doesn’t address issues that may come up – it’s too late when it does.
In the end, my fork seal will fail. My new bike will become available. The question I have right now is, will I buy my new bike from this shop now?
UPDATE: I did buy a new bike and like I thought I did not buy from that shop. Matter of fact I have not set foot again in that shop. I found a new shop and a different (much more expensive bike!) and I couldn’t be happier.