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Marketing / Customer service

Why your gripes are good for business

What irritates you as a customer? Can you be sure that it isn’t happening in your own backyard office?

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For most of us, a disappointing interaction with a business only gets relayed in passing at the dinner table or over coffee with a pal. But for business owners, what gets your goat can be gold for knowing “what not to do” in your own customer relations.

The saying goes, “If you can’t be a good example, be a terrible warning.” So I decided to keep an incident report, which I can periodically check against Flying Solo’s own operations.

Here is my pick of “DON’Ts”.

Shoddy communication

The provider’s answering machine assured me that my call would be returned the next Monday or Tuesday. Had I heard from them by Wednesday? No.

"About pages with stock photos and buzz-wordy blurbs about outstanding customer service and cutting-edge innovation leave me stone cold."

Even more annoying was the business with multiple channels of communication available that didn’t respond to my email, Facebook OR mobile phone message. Hmph.

Result: Those who contact Flying Solo receive a response within a working day.

Want more articles like this? Check out the  customer service section.

“No returns” policy

During the recent school holidays, I purchased an activity book for my five year old from a dollar shop. Turns out we already had it (remembering this kind of detail is hard at the best of times, let alone when I’m eight months pregnant). I went to exchange it – no dice. I have a feeling my statutory rights have been affected.

Then there’s Flying Solo’s Business Class membership – an offering underwritten by a money-back guarantee, which is valid for three months. Our membership products are undergoing a radical overhaul as we speak, but the guarantee will remain intact.

Unsolicited sign-ups

At least once a week, I receive an email newsletter that I have not subscribed to. I have never, ever stayed on the list of any of them. What particularly sticks in my craw is when I unsubscribe and am then asked to check a box stating a reason, one of them being ‘I did not sign up to this.’ Implying, perhaps, that this is knowingly done! There is one word for this, people: SPAM and it is NOT COOL.

Flying Solo has never signed anyone up to our newsletter without their consent. Never have, never will.

Personality bypasses

About pages with stock photos and buzz-wordy blurbs about outstanding customer service and cutting-edge innovation leave me stone cold but I come across them All. The. Time.

Please share your business blood-pressure raisers in the comments.

Sam Leader

is a former director of Flying Solo and the co-author of Flying Solo - How to go it alone in business.

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