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Customer Care and Support Ignored
As business owners we all try and do our best to ensure that customers get a fair deal. But despite our best intentions our business can get effected by the general trend of caring less about customers and more about profits than we should.
A true story highlights the problem
I would like to share a story that really illustrates how important good customer care really is. This is a true story that happened when I was a young lad of about nine or ten years old.
It was late in July and the weather had been very pleasant all week so my father decided it was time to do some repairs on the brake system of his rather old volvo estate. As usual my dad went down to Archibolds our local part supplier and told the sales technician what parts he needed and what the make of car was.
With a new can of brake fluid and the replacement hydralic brake pipes everything was ready for the repairs. My father jacked up the car, put the axle stands in place and stripped out the old brake pipes. As expected he then took the new pair of pipes, connected them to the rear brake pistons and gradually fitted the pipes working up to the front of the car where he would connect them to the master cyinder.
Now brake pipes are funny things, they come in straight lengths with special nipples on the ends for connecting them up. To transport them home though, they are usually coiled into loops. When connecting them to the car you need to bend the pipe to fit around the clips that hold the pipe securely to the chasis of the car.
When my father got to the front of the car he found that both pipes were 2 inches shorter than he needed. He tried for over an hour to try different ways to fit them but in the end he just had to go back to the shop and explain that he had been given incorrect length brake pipes.
Short Sighted Profit Protection Leads To Bad Customer Relations
To his surprise, the owner refused to give him new parts and said that as they had been bent up they were now useless to him and they could not be returned. My father explained that it was the technician that selected the pipes and you have to bend them to try and fit them. Regardless of what he said the owner refused to give a refund or a replacement. (so much for customer care and customer support!)
My father decided to leave and as he opened the door a group of three mechanics were entering the shop. My father said to them: I hope you are not coming here for spare brake parts because this store selects the incorrect sizes for you and then refuses to make good the mistake.
As it happened one of the mechanics had come in to purchase new brake pads and started to ask my father how it happened. At that time the owner suddenly came over and asked to speak to my father.
Damage Control: Better Late Than Never
Of course my father was a bit surprised by this but he listened to the owner who now said that he had decided to completely refund the money and give him a new set of brake pipes at no charge - provided he did not go round telling any more of his customers about this episode.
This story has stayed with me a long time and I always remember thinking that although the owner acted late and not for the right motives, at least he did deal with the problem quickly once he understood it.
True Importance of Consumer Care
Customer care is extremely important and should never be taken lightly. Good or bad, news about your business will easily spread. In these times it is even easier for customers to broadcast their complaints to millions around the internet via blogs and forums, so it makes sense do our best to ensure customer satisfaction and keep customer relationships positive.
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