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Customers: Problems or opportunities
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Customers: Problems or opportunities?

I just ordered business cards from VistaPrint.

The last time I worked with them, they sent along a 20% discount coupon for my next order. Their loyalty program had successfully guided me towards this moment.

After getting all the artwork and details into place, their website informed me the discount had expired. I found this odd, as there was no expiration date noted anywhere on the coupon.

VistaPrint strikes me as a substantial company with dozens of employees, operating like a well-oiled machine. Indeed, my order was processed and shipped out within 12 hours.

Still, there was that 20% hanging out there. So after placing the order, I complained.

To their credit, VistaPrint empowers its frontline employees to fix these sorts of hiccups. Meaning rather than having to sit on the phone for 45 minutes listening to a stale clip of Music On Hold (been there) or waiting 8 weeks for a refund by snail mail (done that), the whole issue was resolved within a matter of minutes via an online chat.

This prevented a customer whom they’d lured back from getting irritated.

There are three things I know without question:

  • Customers are the lifeblood of any business
  • 40% of customers will go elsewhere for the promise of better service
  • Only 4% of customers actually express dissatisfaction

This means you basically have one shot to fix a problem or you’ll risk losing a customer…perhaps for good.

Long ago, I learned that challenging situations pop up in every company. How they’re dealt with tells you what the people who run that company are really made of.

If they make an honest effort to address your legitimate concerns, great. If they blow you off, then you’re just a number in the ledger…despite whatever their website says.

Furthermore, regardless of what you sell, you’ve got competition. Courtesy of the internet, finding that competition today is easier than ever before.

Which brings us down to this; whoever is talking with customers, from the CEO down to customer service representatives, better be able to help address customer issues quickly and efficiently.

Ignore an incident or manage it badly and that customer will move on to another provider. Handle it properly and you’ll make those customers loyal for a lifetime.

With that said, I wish you a week of profitable marketing.

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