Here’s What You Said: Survey Results (Part 3)

This post examines your survey results as the third part of a real-time, real-world case study of a company’s customer interaction.

In Part I you heard a story about an unhappy customer, who felt let down by a company’s customer service interaction. The company lost the customer based on an unforced error.

After the blog post was published, the company reached out to me and asked to connect with that customer. In Part II, we looked at their response. I asked for your opinions about their response:

  1. Do they adequately reflect appreciation for him as a customer?
  2. The offer: Given Chris’s situation, was the offer of one free shirt appropriate?
  3. If this customer interaction came from your company, would you be happy with it? Why or why not? How would you rate this interaction?

The answers have been submitted, and here are your survey results. They are very informative.

Question 1:
One a scale of 1-10, how do you rate the company’s interaction with their customer?

The average answer was smack-dab in the middle – a five. Interestingly, the answers ranged from 1 to 10, (with 1 being worst and 10 being best.) Most of the answers grouped between 6-8. So most of the responders thought the company’s interaction was better than average.

Question 2:
One a scale of 1-10, how do you think a free shirt rates as an appropriate offer for this unhappy customer?

The responses were more positive here. Most folks thought a free shirt was an appropriate offer for an unhappy customer. The average response, again, on a scale of 1 to 10, (with 1 being worst and 10 being best) was 6.83. These answers were more clustered. Eight was the most common response here.

Question 3:
How would you rate this customer interaction?

This question had a star rating between 1-5 stars. Interestingly, nobody rated the interaction a 1 and nobody rated it a 5, either. Everyone was clustered between 2-4 stars. The average was 3.2 stars.

Question 4:
If this customer interaction came from your company, would you be happy with it? Why or why not?

Here’s where the survey results get meaty…in your freeform opinions about the customer interaction. Here are some select comments that reflect the overall responses:

  • No acknowledgement of the problem. The free shirt replaces the one he did not like but he still didn’t get them on time. Not sure a free shirt now will jumpstart his loyalty.
  • I give them good marks because they responded, they apologized and the free shirt was sent – and the problem happened a few years ago. As a customer I would at least feel like they ( finally) heard me. I didn’t give top marks because it wasn’t resolved when it happened, it took a big shout to make it happen, and it was chalked up to a miscommunication. I thought the customer was pretty clear on what he needed and when.
  • The rep did not address or apologize for the 2 issues: late delivery and poor quality of one of the items. The shirt was sent, almost, as a way to placate him.
  • It seems rather impersonal and like a form letter. It had that stink of “legalese” on it and something the company “had to” do.
  • This situation was from YEARS ago. It was not a recent situation. I think offering him anything, including a free shirt was more than fair. Where do we draw the line?
  • It was years ago and Chris gets a free shirt. Bravo. But the communication was meh and there was zero apology or accountability from the company. Chris will take the free shirt perhaps but his loyalty probably won’t return.
  • The interaction was pleasant enough but felt generic. There was not an acknowledgement or apology for the pain/frustration that the customer would have experienced.
  • They get 2 stars, only because they attempted something! No, I would need to see remorse and an apology for failing to meet his needs and a short explanation how they plan to not make the mistake in the future. Without that, why would I want to take the risk of an additional purchase.

Summary & Takeaways

In summary, here are some of the themes and your takeaways for better customer interaction at your company:

  1. The company’s response didn’t have the ring of sincere engagement. “Impersonal” “Generic” and “Meh.” If you’re going to respond to an unhappy customer, the tone should reflect engaged interaction. If you have a shot at winning back loyalty, your customer needs to feel valued in the interaction. The consensus was that their response didn’t meet that threshold.
  2. Say sorry. The interaction about the problem itself was arms-length. Even if the company didn’t want to acknowledge an error, they could have been more apologetic about the issue itself. An authentic “sorry” goes a long way to mending fences when someone feels wronged.
  3. Most thought the shirt was a solid (or at least sufficient) offer to the unhappy customer. However, the tone of the responses overrode the gift. Overall, people thought the interaction fell short of something that would reignite loyalty. Tone matters. Had the company’s emails been worded a little bit differently, people would have probably rated the interaction much more highly.

Is something better than nothing?

It depends. If the goal was simply to get Chris to stop telling his UNTUCKit story, the mission was probably accomplished. If they wanted to regain his loyalty for future purchase, I suspect they failed to clear that hurdle.