Is screwing over the client good for business?

Posted on April 25, 2010 by

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Are you interested in retention, good word of mouth, revenue growth or increased profits? If so, do you care about return business? We all know new customers cost more to attract than existing customers. We should all understand that building a relationship will result in more sales over time.

If it is so important and obvious to look after clients, why do so many firms walk all over the customer? I believe if the culture and leadership is not customer centric too many customers will “accidentally get screwed” by the firm / supplier.

Is your company guilty? Before actively shaking your head with the knowledge that you care for your clients consider my recent frustration with the online travel shop Expedia.com.

I booked flights and hotel on Saturday. I then realized I had made a mistake and needed to change the hotel. This was less than 5 minutes after booking it, if I had been in a shop I probably would not have even got out to the street. The website had no features to help me. So I was forced to pick up the phone and ring them. Within 3 minutes I had navigated the maze of “push 1 for” and I was speaking with a human! But they inform me they can’t help – they are in sales and can only take new bookings. Helpfully they transfer me to the support line.

30 Minutes later I was still on hold. I gave up. So Expedia can take my money but not talk to me about anything else! I attempted to email them, obviously I only got an auto reply, but it did say they would reply properly within 24hrs.

It has now been 24hrs – no reply. I have called back to the support line and 3 hours of music on hold still has not put me on the phone with someone I can talk to! But I can pick up my mobile and get talking to the sales department in under 3 minutes. But these people, no matter what I say, cannot help me. They use the worst get out clause of all: “our system won’t let us”. What idiot made the system so a sales rep cannot amend my booking and take more money from me? Expedia should buy a better system, or do they not give flying Frisbee about the customer?

To frustrate me even more the music on hold is faulty, the voice now and then says “I am sorry we are busy helping other travellers”, which is fair enough to remind me other people are getting help while I wait because Expedia have a rubbish system or only hire 1 member of staff in support or maybe just have a policy to leave all support calls 2 hours (it is an 07 number; added revenue?!) but every third time it just says “I am sorry” then abruptly cuts off and goes silent for 45 seconds. They can’t even play a recorded message down the phone properly! No one could be bothered to listen to the message for more than 2 minutes to check it!

My point is that Expedia having staff ready to take your cash but not talk to you after is NOT good service, I actually wanted to spend considerable more money too! As a customer I feel walked over, I just wasted 3 hours of my life! Although I did blog while on hold!

OMG: Ooh… an answer must go…

Back on hold, my complex query of changing hotels has pushed the support rep over the edge and he needs support from a line manager – I hope he does not have to call his line manager?

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