Customer is NOT always right

The Customer is NOT always rightI started working with the public at 14 yrs old at McDonalds and have every single day since. I will spare us both the math but will say that we are closing in on 3.5 decades.

And I have learned for concern that the customer is NOT always right.

Now don’t get me wrong, you know… well, I hope you know, because I tell you all the time, how much I love and generally appreciate my clients EVERYDAY!! And regularly, if not DAILY, I do everything in my power to go above and beyond for each and every one of you and treasure the opportunity to do it.

That being said…

I had a very challenging and thankfully rare situation with a new client last week and it got me to thinking about how two sane grown-up adults can look at the exact same situation and have two completely different reactions to it.

Case in point and I am curious to hear your interpretation and opinion…

A gift order was placed on Sunday of the Labour Day long weekend with a request for delivery to be made on Tuesday and to go to an address in Vancouver.

Being a holiday weekend, the order wasn’t received until Tuesday morning but we worked hard to get it done right away and had it out with a courier that afternoon. Unfortunately it was returned to us a few hours later as there is NO street by that name in Vancouver and the actual destination is in West Vancouver.

I immediately sent the client an email letting her know about the address correction and that we would need to charge her an additional cost for the difference between delivery to Vancouver vs West Vancouver and that because of the address correction and the order was just received this morning, the recipient would not receive the gift until the next day.

I didn’t charge her for the original delivery into Vancouver and redirect back to me from  the courier… I figure it was my bad for not checking ahead of time but I was rushing so much to get it out for her that I didn’t look.

Imagine my surprise when 2 full days later I get an email explaining that my email was just read that day and asking for clarification on why the gift was received a day late and there was an extra charge of $8 on her credit card. Even though I felt I was pretty clear in my original email explaining everything, I restated it all again with even more details and this was the response I received.

****I have to say I am very unhappy about the service and that is an issue with your site and something you should get fixed esp for a premium service.

I will make sure to leave a review to let other people know about my experience.
I am now deeply regretting making this purchase and which I had found another service.
****

She felt because she inputed the correct postal code the site should have noticed that is was West Vancouver; even though she specifically chose Vancouver as the city and was only charged for a Vancouver delivery and was deeply upset about the extra charge for the difference in the city rates.

We went back n forth one more time than I had to stop because I realized I couldn’t understand why I was being attacked when she was simply being charged for the service she requested and I truly felt like I did everything in my control to facilitate the gift order, but I simply had to stop responding.

How do you deal with similar situations when 2 people see the same scenario completely differently? How do you deal with clients or customers that are just not happy even when you feel you have gone above and beyond for them? How do you respond when your company reputation, and you, as the face of the brand, are being attacked and are not being heard?

Working with the public does have its challenges, even though I still chose to do it daily but just curious what your take on ‘the customer is always right’ is?

Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by,

Carole

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Sometimes no matter what you do, a customer will not be happy. Sometimes no matter that the customer made an error in location, they will blame it on someone else for not verifying something that they relayed to you. In this world, some people will never take “responsibility” and will lay the blame on someone else. If they post a negative response on your website, it may be better to just acknowledge that the address should have been west Van and not Van so a delay in delivery occurred…. and not go into further detail. This will not win an argument and will make the situation look even worse. Hopefully people who have used your service and have been happy can look beyond such a complaint.

    • You are right, of course Joann. I do like the idea of just simply stating one line of fact and letting it rest. Never want it to look like I don’t care so would need to acknowledge it but also don’t want to engage in a debate of whose error it was.
      Thanks for sharing your opinion,
      Smiles, C

  2. Carole, I know how hard you work and you have the most beautiful thoughtful baskets for all occasions. If I was requesting a basket I would clearly state the address especially when we do have a WEST Vancouver also. I think the customer in this case should have been more clear of destination. You worked to do the basket and it would have been there on time if she had stated WEST Vancouver. You are the best and in this case did the right thing. Cheers Rhonda

    • Thank you so very much Rhonda. Your words mean a TON to me!!
      Sometimes one just needs to get validation from the planet that you are on the right path and not off your rocker… and yes, the validation still counts even if it comes from your mom, your man and your close friends 🙂
      Love you!
      Big HUGE hugs,
      Carole

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