Do You Keep Your Customers Informed?

March 24, 2009 at 5:00 pm 3 comments

Help online

Customer service is one of the most important elements of marketing and the steps you take to keep your customers informed when problems occur can strengthen or harm the relationship.

Yesterday the server hosting our website went down. I only found out in the afternoon when I tried to go into our admin area to do an update. I rang the company and they said yes there was a problem, they were working on it and it should be fixed by 8pm last night.

What a difference it would have been if they had emailed or contacted all those companies that were affected to alert us to the problem, instead of expecting us to find it out ourselves a few hours later. They could have also included information as to where to get updates on the situation.

This morning it was still down so I rang again but eventually was told by a recorded voice that all operators were busy and to go to the website for information, complete a support ticket or leave a message. I eventually found the right section on the website, submitted a ticket and the update was that they did not know when the problem would be fixed.

Throughout this morning I kept checking to see if the site was live again and could only keep thinking of sales we have lost in the past 24 hours as we sell our product online

Eventually at about noon today, the site was live again and about one hour later the company informed me everything was working and apologised for the inconvenience.

As a customer you understand that problems occur from time to time, however it is the way the company handles the issue that can have lasting effects on the relationship. By letting its customers work out there was a problem and not being proactive the company did miss an opportunity to strengthen customer relationships.

The lesson we learnt from this is when you have customer service policies and procedures in place, put yourself in your customer’s shoes and test the procedures to see if they are acceptable in different situations.

We are reviewing our customer service procedures and policy to see where we can improve to ensure that if a problem arises our customers are never left in the dark.


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Entry filed under: Customer Relationships. Tags: , , , .

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. queennmyownmind  |  March 25, 2009 at 4:44 am

    In my world anything less than excellence in customer service is not an option. That’s how I run my business. However, not every company feels the same way.

    My question is; when does Customer enter into Customer Service?

    Check out to see a Customer service (or lack of) horror story.


    • 2. Susan Oakes  |  March 25, 2009 at 9:41 am

      Thanks for your comment and excellence in customer service is great, however as we are human I think we all slip up from time to time. I am interested in your question, could you expand a little on what was your thinking behind the question.

  • 3. karen vowell mager  |  March 25, 2009 at 10:59 am

    You actually made my point for me. Keeping customers informed goes a long way to keeping existing customers and gaining new customers. The customer should be paramount in customer service! That’s why we call it business.

    My most recent experience with my former web host was 8 weeks of calls not returned; weeks to see a horrible draft for a 5 day project; and only when I chose to cut my losses and do the project myself and politely ask for a refund did I get anyone’s attention.

    Great blog Susan.


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