As you know, I’m a big fan of customer service and making sure you deliver the experience you promised the customer. I go out of my way to make certain customer’s expectations are exceeded and they turn into raving fans.
However, listening to Michael O’Leary, chief executive of Ryanair, I began to wonder whether I had started to take the idea of my customer service too far!
Has my customers service gone too far…
The story begins with a lady called Suzy McLeod.
Suzy had forgotten to print out her inbound boarding cards and when she arrived at Ryanair’s check-in gate she was charged €60 per person for them to be printed.
She paid the “Penalty fares” and boarded the plane home. She then wrote to Michael O’Leary “Asking for compensation and a gesture of goodwill”. Michael rejected her claim in his usual flamboyant style – calling her an idiot! Suzy took her “campaign” on Facebook and soon had over 350,000 supporting her. Michael never backed down.
There is a saying that “all publicity is good publicity” but this story got me thinking….
How many business owners did I know (myself included) that would have either waived the €60 penalty fares or, on receiving Suzy’s claim would have refunded the money she had paid?
I think many would have done just to avoid the potential bad publicity and word-of-mouth, afraid of the consequences for their business.
But whose fault was it?
In this case it was clearly the customer’s fault.
She had seen the terms and conditions of the booking and confirmed she had read them.
She had an opportunity to print out the inbound boarding passes when she printed out the outbound passes, so there is no excuse about not having a printer.
Even though she had been staying in a remote village for her holiday without internet access when she arrived at the airport there were a number of internet cafes she could have used before she attempted to check in.
So, if she had wanted, she could have easily printed boarding passes.
We have been told for years “The customer is always right”
Is this always the case in your business?
How many times do you make the refund or offer compensation without thinking about it in order to avoid the potential bad publicity?
Where do you draw the line?
And if that line has not been drawn, how do your team members or colleagues know what to do when a customer complains?
My advice is to have a think about what constitutes a valid customer complaint and detail what your team is allowed to do to put those matters right. Write a customer complaints policy and a system to implement it. You might even have different complain procedures for different “categories” of customers.
That way you’ll have total clarity, transparency and consistency when looking after your customers.
Go on then…
Pull Your Socks Up…
PS I still have a few places left on my three day January Boot Camp. If you would like to find out all about it please click this link now. If you have any questions please feel free to reply to this email and I’ll answer them as soon as I can. I’d love to see you there.