Service these days…

This is another of my random rants I need to get off my chest. This one is about service.

Bad service

I cannot stand bad service, but sadly I seem to live in a country where bad service is the norm. What infuriates me further is there are so many people out there looking for work – it’s not like companies have to keep bad staff.

Think about the last time you went into a shop. Were you greeted? Were you asked if you wanted help? Were you followed around the store like a criminal? Were you ignored? Did you interrupt a private conversation between 2, 3, 4 or even 5 staff members? If you had a bad experience, did you say something? Or did you just leave it because if you complain about every little incident, you wouldn’t ever get anything done?

If I have the time, I always complain. I feel that I am the customer, and that without customers, there wouldn’t be a store to go into, so you can damn well do your job, and do it with a smile. But I also tweet them because I feel that if it were my business, I would want to know if my staff were not performing.

Social Media

The rise of social media has meant that we can now be in touch with brands instantly, and all your followers too. I had a bad experience once that I tweeted about, that within 5 minutes, had been retweeted to reach over 15 000 people – brands shouldn’t ignore that.  Yet, some do. And I’m thankful for these brands, as they just confirm what you’re thinking at the time – that the disregard for customer satisfaction runs right through the company from the top. If the people at HO can’t be bothered to sort the problem out, why should we expect the staff in the shop to? It’s obviously a company, rather than an individual staff member’s problem, so rather take your custom elsewhere.

There are some brands that are of the opinion that they should just ignore people who complain. That’s all fine and well, but chances are you’ve just lost a customer forever (Idiom wines, I mean you. There are 3000-odd other labels in SA for me to drink and enjoy.) Then you get the standard ‘please contact us to discuss further’ response. Um, no, Pick n Pay, I have already contacted you once, how about you contact me? Actually, you know what? Don’t bother because once you contact me and promise that the store manager will be in touch within the hour, I never hear from you, or the manager again. (This has happened 3 times with them.) The worst offenders here for me though, has to be the ones who get back to you days or even weeks after the event and seem unphased that you had a bad experience. ‘Hi did you sort out that problem you had over a week ago?’ you know what Computicket? If I never use you again, it will be too soon. Sorbet Salons, who DMed me on the 5 February 2013 to say ‘someone from our team will be in contact with you.’ When exactly Sorbet? The rapture? Or maybe when hell freezes over? Needless to say I’ve never stepped foot in one again. I have also stopped featuring them on my site.

Also, brands should note, that even if you reply swiftly and try and rectify the situation, if the person you nominate to contact an unhappy customer is, in fact not a people person, you WILL make the situation worse. Lenovo, for some reason your name springs to mind here. Is it maybe because I had to contact the European HO to get someone who was willing to help me to contact me? Very possibly. I used my keyboard buttons to make jewellery and I have a Mac now, so thanks!

But thankfully there are brands that are just beyond incredible on social media. Those brands that, no matter how bad an experience you had, you will go back as a happy customer because of how they treated you.

These kids know how to keep customers happy. They want their customers to be happy, so they follow-up and don’t stop until the matter had been resolved. These are the brands that have managed to improve my impression of them through spectacular social media service. When I go into their stores, I know that even if I do have a bad experience, it will more than likely be sorted out before I leave the premises.

Like @virginactiveSA, who reply almost immediately and apologise before they do anything else. The guys doing the social media don’t really know what happened, but they know you’re unhappy.

@Rbjacobs for FNB should get an Oscar for his performance online. Handling every complaint quickly and professionally.

@Woolworths_SA who tweet and mail until they actually have it in writing that you’re happy. I’ve even started tweeting them names of staff members who gave excellent service – they reply to those tweets too!

@EdgarsSA and @RedSquareBeauty who will help you locate items at different stores.

The malls in Cape Town are brilliant too – @VandAWaterfront, @CavendishCT and @canal_walk are all exceptional at getting back to you. Especially the Waterfront, who just last week sent security to remove a dodgy character from next to a friend of mine’s car. Instant response!

Next time you want to treat yourself to the most fantastic meal, give @teamlamouette or @_El_Burro a tweet. You’ll have a table in no time. That is of course, if they have space.

So, brands with pathetic social media, go and have a look at what these cool kids are doing – it’s really not hard. You just have to be nice!

Who are your best and worst brands online?

UPDATE: To prove my point perfectly: this was published 22 minutes ago. I tweeted it 15 minutes ago, and surprise, surprise, who’s working before 8? @Rbjacobs! Replied in 2 minutes!

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And @virginactiveSA followed suit 15 minutes later..

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