I don’t get it. Why is customer service such an after thought?
We all know the apoplectic rage of being fobbed off, ignored, refused, left on hold.
It feels like disrespect.
It feels like “You took my money, and now you’re done with me? Oh great, thanks.”
A one way street.
I don’t understand how businesses that do this continue to exist. By rights they shouldn’t. Darwin will get his way, one day.
An initial positive experience is hard for any brand to build. Great product, great images, writing, reviews, easy to use website, ads, press, events, blogs, emails, blah blah. Nobody sells anything otherwise. Brands invest huge amounts into SELLING YOU STUFF. I invest in doing the same. Obvious innit.
But then, thud, you’re dropped. They got the sale. Thanks. See ya.
Of course you’re thinking like me: It isn’t not just THE sale, it’s the next sale, it’s the telling friends how shit the experience was (or wasn’t), the bad review, it goes on. No more sales. For a lifetime. Why? WHY?
It makes business sense to be decent, nice, helpful, on it. To make things easy and pleasant. Isn’t it fricken OBVIOUS?? It drives me crazy. Great brands, brands I admire, that seem to do their best to pretend you’re not asking a question.
Someone returning something is not an insult. Surely returning or exchanging, or even asking what length the sleeve is is normal, legal, fair, fine! No problem! You’re helping us, so let’s help you!
My theory is boards of directors either don’t care about service, or they see it as a way to spend & lose money. Expensive call-centre? Get the cheapest people we can. Don’t pay them so they stay. Don’t pay to train them, because they’ll leave. Just tell them not to refund it and BONUS them on the revenue they ‘keep’. Shortsighted, short term thinking. Get the sale, move on, with a barrier to keep the money. Utter madness. To me. Maybe I’m missing something and I’m crushingly naive. But who actually wants to say no? Shouldn’t business be fun? It’s neither logical nor pleasant this way.
But of course that money it ‘saves’ isn’t saved. I’ll damn well get my refund* [see footnote] whatever it takes, now. Bad service makes me stubborn. I’ll go out of my way to find another supplier or brand. Fuck you for virtually saying a virtual fuck you, to me. WAR.
Bad service makes me angry, as you can tell. Ha ha.
I’ve worked in service and run customer service teams in my twenties. I actually enjoy helping, chatting, doing it right, sending them/you on their way with a relieved small. Because I know what it’s like. You expect bad service. We can’t, won’t do that.
We care. We employ people who care, that we like.
I cannot bear the thought of letting someone down… of you or anyone else inevitably (and fairly) bad-mouthing us if we disrespected you. I can’t bear not to do my job properly. Looking after you is my/our job.
Our reviews are amazing for lots of reasons. One, if you’ve ever read a few, is the service. Great service is simple. Care. Actually care about what you’re doing.
A refund isn’t losing money. It’s maintaining trust and respect between us. Need a refund? No probs. Sorted. Done.
Recently we’ve got too busy for me to do all the service myself, like I used to. Now we have a little team, led by Emmalou, my wife. We don’t farm it out. Everyone knows what they’re talking about. I personally spend hours with each new person, getting them up to speed, discussing garment designs, fit, brand, mental health, the lot. Emmalou runs our little team, always on call, as am I, for harder questions (like the provenance of the third snap down on the right!)
They have to care as much as me, and be as good as me. They’re actually far better.
Our live chat is manned by real people. Real FRAHM staff, not bots.
Not: “Hi FRAHM, could I check the right size with you?”
“Hello valued customer, I am sorry, we do not sell toast."
Caring about and respecting what you do means you want to do a great job. Caring about and respecting human beings, let alone our customers, means you look after them. People helping people.
Just imagine how awful it must be to sit in a call centre, with no training, and your job is to say no. To put the phone down. To ignore emails. Humans aren’t made this way. It must be soul destroying.
Shit service travels. It infects. It could destroy our brand, our enjoyment, our reputation. Everything. We are very very heavily motivated to do the right thing by you.
‘Right’ is important. I believe in fairness. Occasionally (very occasionally) we get asked to do things that aren’t fair. They go to me. I’m honest and I explain. “I’m really sorry, we can’t replace a jacket that was torn to shreds by a nest of hyenas that you taunted with a big fiery stick. Are you ok? Are the hyenas ok?” **
We try to be perfect, but that’s impossible. Once in December 2019 I sent a day’s worth of deliveries all with the wrong jackets to the wrong people. I’d mixed up the labels. I was knackered. Totally my fault.
I did all I could do, immediately admitted it was my fault (why put off the inevitable?), asked what I could do to help, did it, quickly, no fuss. The best I could. Was honest. Kept my promises.
Because that’s what SHOULD happen, every damn time.
I don’t understand why customer service is so bad. I simply don’t understand.
Thank you for listening. I’m going to have a nice sit down with some herbal tea and breathe.
Then I’m going to make our service even better.
* Did you know that if you pay by credit card or PayPal, you’re automatically covered if a business doesn’t send your goods, if they go bust, nick the money, don’t refund you, etc? It should be widely known. Use it!
** Made up story. Hyenas don’t live in nests.