It shouldn’t take a study or report to emphasize the importance of customer communication. It’s one of those duh things to do. After all, you can’t succeed without customers. Yet, lack of communication is rampant, whether in the B2C, B2B, or nonprofit sectors.
My recent experience is a case in point. My side-by-side refrigerator-freezer broke down leaving me with melting food and a mess. I moved as much as I could to a backup unit in the garage, but inevitably, I had to toss a lot of food.
I called my home warranty company on a Sunday to report the issue and a contracted technician and trainee came out the next morning. Within a few minutes, they diagnosed the problem and said they would order a part replacement. Someone would call me when they could schedule a follow-up visit, possibly the next day.
When there was no communication by Tuesday afternoon, I decided to call the home warranty company to see if there was a status report. The rep contacted the contractor while I sat on hold.
She came back and reported that the contractor had been busy training new staff and had just started looking for the replacement part. Excuse me??? Why is this my problem? She said someone would call when the part arrived.
In the meantime, I couldn’t cook or prepare meals without restocking. Frustration was certainly setting in.
Wednesday came and went with no communication. Finally, on Thursday morning, I contacted the home warranty company again. The rep, Brenda, placed me on hold and called the contractor directly.
When she returned, she advised me that the part was now available, and that the contractor would call to set up an appointment. Within minutes, the company called to set up a visit for Friday morning.
Of course, there are terrible things going on in the world, and my broken refrigerator-freezer isn’t one of them. However, when customers are inconvenienced and frustrated, it should be cause for concern when you are the provider!
To keep me from harassing the home warranty company and getting ticked off, all they had to do was keep me updated. That’s it.
I would have had more patience if someone had called me with something like this:
“I’m sorry that there’s a delay in obtaining the replacement part. I realize how inconvenient it is to be without your refrigerator-freezer and we’re doing everything we can to speed things up.
As soon as we receive the part, we’ll contact you to schedule an appointment. We’ll keep you posted.”
Now, how hard is that? Sure, it takes extra staff time, but isn’t it worth it to retain your customers?