Archive for February, 2011

February 10, 2011

The Rule of 11’s / Customer Service Matters…

I am embarrassed to admit that I called a very well-known company yesterday, and asked for the manager so I could talk to her about an employee that offered perhaps the worst (and most condescending) customer service I’ve ever received. I am not one to file complaints, however between the horrible treatment received from the store employee, followed up by the unapologetic attitude and outright rudeness of the manager herself on that phone call, I feel that the call was more than justified.

My best friend was visiting me for my birthday last weekend, and we both had an issue with a product from this particular store. So on Saturday, we stopped in, only to leave within 5 minutes, completely and utterly bewildered at the horrific customer service that we had just experienced. After calling the store manager on Monday, I did not feel like my issues were resolved, instead they were compounded by an additional, almost greater, negative experience. Ultimately, my dissatisfaction with the service was greatly magnified by the disappointment in discovering the stark contrast between my great appreciation for what I believed to be a wonderful product, and the blatant lack of product support.

Honestly, up to this point, I have been pretty satisfied with this company. I have enjoyed multiple products from this company, and have had nothing but great experiences with using those products. I’ve been a strong advocate for this brand over the past 8 years. However, I have not dealt with this company from a customer service perspective, as I haven’t had any other issues with their products. Needless to say, this experience has definitely been eye opening. I have had this same issue with this particular product two times; once with the product that I own, and an identical one that I have at work. My Co-worker has also experienced the same issue. I would just go out and purchase a replacement, however this product, compared to a similar product from other competing brands is anywhere from 2 to 4 times as expensive. One would think you would get superior customer service for such a “high quality” item demanding such an outrageous price point.

To avoid going into detail about the who, what and where at this point, I’m going to skip to yesterday, when I was researching other customers who have experienced the same issues with this company, and I stumbled upon an interesting subject: The rule of 11’s.

I don’t know if it is a proven fact, or just a generalization, but it makes perfect sense to me. The concept is, that when you have a negative experience with customer service, 11 people around you are affected by your experience. Between Monday and today, I have talked about my negative experience with this company, to 5 people. I am certain that number will grow and possibly surpass 11 as time goes on  – and as more people read my blog 🙂

I don’t know if the rule is limited to negative customer service experiences, or if it extends to negative experiences in general, or even positive ones, but I do know that people talk, and now they post and blog about everything under the sun, so I would assume that this rule is pretty legit for any type of experience.

The reason I’m posting this is not to keep you all in suspense, wondering what company I’m talking about. I do, however, hope that it helps people realize that when they are doing their job, whether it is for a large company or a small personal business, that the experience they provide to the customer can affect more than just one person. It can affect a large group of people, and in turn, their opinion of your company may be altered. If enough people are affected, this could truly ruin any business. In this economy, you would expect businesses and their employees to bend over backwards to meet and surpass their customer’s expectations. Unfortunately, this store did not get the memo…

I hope it also motivates people – on the customer end of things – to acknowledge and appreciate good customer service, and possibly even make someone’s day by phoning or emailing a quick note of recognition for exemplary services provided by that employee. I need to be better about this as well – I owe Starbuck’s a million calls by now – they always have the friendliest people in the drive through window! In contrast to what negative customer service can do to a business, good customer service can help to establish a new company, grow a medium-sized company and buttress large corporations.

As a small business owner, I have definitely learned from this experience. I will focus on continuing to provide stellar customer service in all aspects of my business. As for my next step with addressing the – now multiple – issues I’ve experienced with this company; I will write a letter to the CEO, explaining the numerous frustrations, “slaps in the face” and letdowns I’ve endured with his company over the past few days, and if that goes unanswered, I will send that letter again, this time, informing him that I will be taking further action to make these issues more public.