Yesterday, I wrote a negative review of EliteCarSeats.com after they unilaterally canceled my order for two Britax Regents. When I mentioned my frustration to Marc, he said he’d recently read a suggestion that companies should either commit to fully satisfying their customers or just not answer their phone. And I think that’s exactly right – you can’t go halfway when it comes to customer service.
But that’s exactly what EliteCarSeats tried to do. They could have just canceled my order and sent me an email explaining why. But instead they tried to go a step further by calling to let me know of the cancellation and in doing so just made things worse. By refusing to go another step further and grant my request for expedited shipping, they lost my business forever. I’m actually more unhappy with their customer service after having my request refused than I would have been if I’d simply gotten an email explaining why my order was canceled. And that’s why I say you can’t do customer service only halfway.
I think as customers, we simply want to know what we’re getting. So if a store purports to have customer service, it had better be excellent. And if a store isn’t going to give good service, I want to know about that upfront. Woot! is a good example of a store like that. Their FAQ says upfront that you’ll most likely never get hold of a live person and that they don’t provide traditional customer service. So if you buy from them, you do so knowing the risks.
I’m not the only one who thinks this way. Jeremy Schoemaker at Shoemoney says he’s never going back to what used to be his favorite teppanyaki restaurant because the chef served undercooked shrimp that made him sick. Jeremy concludes:
It got me thinking a lot about how businesses work. Serving undercooked shrimp which are 85% done does a LOT more damage than what the modulus would make you think. It would have been much better if they would have done 0% and not served us at all.
What do you think? Is mediocre service better or worse than none at all?