On the list of siblings that PR is often pitted against or partnered with (Marketing, Advertising, Investor Relations, Human Resources), Customer Service plays the role of the distant half-sister. They don’t know each other very well, and are forced together every now and then at “family” gatherings and realize, hey, we look nothing alike/see you at next year’s party.
Well, PR and Customer Service should know each other better and get together more often. I regularly write in this blog about customer service problems I encounter or hear about from colleagues that make my PR hat fall off my head. Customer service is inextricably linked to the big 3 of business: Reputation. Brand. Sales. How can so many companies not get this? Case in point last week: I went to a spa for a half-hour Swedish massage and the masseuse mistakingly gave me a full hour’s treatment (don’t blame me!).
When, upon checking out to pay, I told the owner that I think I was in there for an hour, she scolded the masseuse at high volume in front of all the staff and customers, told her if she does that again she’ll be fired, and told me I need to pay the full one hour and to please not tip the masseuse. All of a sudden, my stress-free hour turned into a Customer Service nightmare. I paid in full (even though I paid double of what I originally ordered) and I gave the employee a tip. A day later, the owner left me a voice message apologizing, and offering me a free half-hour massage. Really? I will never step foot in that Spa again — even for a bottle of shampoo. Or for a free back rub over warm coals. I spread the word to my friends and while my circle of influence is relatively small, I’m pretty sure this spa’s Reputation, Brand and Sales quotient took a small turn for the worse.
What would you have done in this situation? Would you have take the free massage? There’s still time for me to go back….
– Diane Schwartz