I Can’t Get No Satisfaction by Emily Smart

People in my line of business (marketing rather than procreating), spend a lot of time banging the drum about the importance of good customer service.  Be nice to people, we say, give them what they want, build a relationship and they’ll keep coming back. Of course, we are all of us customers at some time or other. When I have a bad experience as a customer, I have a seriously good moan about it to anyone who will listen. Whether it’s my other half, my mates, the mums at the school gate or the provider in question, I generally stick the boot in to whoever has caused me angst or over-complicated a simple transaction.  I am not alone.  It is a well-known fact that far more customers complain about bad service than praise good service.  And now there are even bigger and better ways of bad-mouthing brands, services and companies that have over-promised and under-delivered, thanks to the world of social media and our addiction to sharing anything about everything with everyone we know.  For a case in point, check out www.nocustomerservice.com

So who is the target of my latest beef? Let’s just call it a very well known NZ supermarket. I am two-thirds of the way through an experiment into finding the cheapest supermarket, bearing in mind basket spend, convenience and the cost of petrol to get there.  After doing my shopping at my local supermarket for some time now (a great experience albeit that the trolleys and aisles are too small), I signed up to do my weekly shop online at the supermarket in question. This was remarkably easy. The actual shopping on screen took a while, but the calculator on the page told me how much I was spending as I went along, so I felt in control. I picked up the groceries the next day and felt very satisfied that my shopping had been done so easily.  So far, so good, for both pre-sale and sale customer care.

Unfortunately, the after-sale care left a lot to be desired. I had a phone call from said supermarket to discuss my shopping experience. I told them I didn’t have time to talk. They sent me an email. Then another one, then another and so it went on.

On 3/05/2012 8:13 am, a customer service assistant wrote:

Dear Emily

Welcome, and thank you for shopping with Online Shopping.

Unfortunately you were not available when we called, so we thought that email would be the best possible way to communicate with you.

We are interested in receiving any feedback you may have about your experiences with Online Shopping to date. We are also interested in knowing if there are any ways we may improve this service for you.
We would love to hear from you, so if you have a moment please feel free to complete a quick survey by clicking on the following link: http://www.surveygizmo.com/s/476473/onlinecustomerservicegen

Have a great day,
Lakau Daniels Customer Service Dept.

I replied:

Dear Lakau

You have now sent me at least 7 emails (4 of which arrived this morning) asking for my feedback.

Herewith my feedback – stop sending these incredibly annoying feedback emails.

I am going to Pak ‘n Save this morning, does that tell you everything you need to know?


The explanation from them for the hounding emails was that they were having a ‘computer glitch’. Their response to my response did nothing but enrage me further and the chances of my shopping with them online again are slim to none.

The main conclusion I draw from this experience is, that if you run a business, you should treat your customers as you would expect to be treated if the roles were reversed.  No customer wants to be phoned at inconvenient times and then bombarded with computer-generated impersonal emails.

Consider the following:

  • Do you give your customers exactly what they want, when they want it and without fuss?
  • Do you treat your customers well? Will they be complaining about you to all and sundry or singing your praises?
  • Do you reward your customers for their loyalty?
  • Do you offer great pre-sale, sale and after-sale care?
  • Do you request feedback in an unobtrusive, sensitive and considerate way?

If you can answer yes to all of the above, then you already know that customer service is quite simple really;  it all boils down to that age-old adage:  ‘Do as you would be done by; do unto others as you would wish them to do unto you.’

Here endeth the lesson.

One Comment on “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction by Emily Smart

  1. in a moodie today emily ?- PRESS DELETE – poor old customer services on the minimum wage having to read your meanie emails – shall i enter a smiley face, forget punctuation – spell something wrong just to really annoy you!

    btw – can you tell me the outcome of the supermarket shop – i can’t be arsed doing the survey… and also if i email you my list, while you are there – can you get ours?!

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