Fast forward 13 years. I have a digital display in my boat which is going bad. We have no dealer in the area, so I contacted a dealer about 100+ miles away. He responded several weeks later that he checked and the part was basically not available. End of story.
I decided there must be an alternative repair solution (something the first dealer should have offered), so I decided to write the company headquarters. I thought about calling, but needed to show photos of my display. I thought about emailing, but didn't want to get lost in an email black hole.
In the end I wrote a nice letter detailing the problems including photos and questions as to how I might solve the problem. Certainly they could think of something!? To be sure it was noticed, I sent it overnight mail (in the big envelope, with Attention Customer Service written on it), and got a delivery confirmation.
Certainly the customer service department will contact me immediately to let me know they received my package and will be working on it. I waited, one week, two weeks, three weeks and now more than a month has gone by without the slightest hint of contact, or concern for my problem.
- Have systems in place so when a letter, email or phone call comes in, everyone in your organization knows who and how to handle the contact.
- Have a system in place to log in the contact so there is an automatic internal follow up system so the customer is not forgotten. Assign a specific person to follow through.
- CONTACT THE CUSTOMER IMMEDIATELY - and I mean immediately, by phone, email or both. You have to let the customer know you care and you are working on the problem.
- Do everything you can to find a solution or answer to the customer's problem.
- Keep in contact with the customer to be sure they know you are working on their problem.
- When you determine a solution (or not) let the customer know options, solutions, etc.
- Follow up with customer a few days later to see if there is anything else they need.
- Follow up with customer a few weeks later to see if there is anything else they need.
It is so easy to win over a customer and make them a customer for life by following these 8 steps. However, it is also just as easy to lose a customer for life.