Have you had a terrible customer experience with one business that normally gives you average (not great) service? The worst customer service often occurs when the business doesn’t care. Space Coast Credit Union certainly proved to me that they don’t care about their customers or their service.
Let me illustrate the point that SCCU doesn’t care. After writing this post, I sent a copy of it to the President of SCCU and offering him a chance to respond. I told him I would include his response with the post. I sent it to him last Monday and gave him all week to respond. This is now Saturday and I have not heard not one peep from him. That is not a response from a caring business is it?
This post is #1 in a three part series. Here is the second and third in the series:
Seth Godin once said: You can’t fool people all the time, not even most of the time. And people once unfooled, talk about the experience. Have you been fooled by a company you have done business with for many, many years? When I say fooled, I mean the broken kind of trust fooled. And yes Seth, I do want to talk about. It involves the worst customer service and experiences that I rarely see.
My team at Digital Spark Marketing often gets asked why to emphasize customer service and experience design. The answer we believe is pretty simple. Customers remember and value great service and experiences that demonstrate deep understanding and respect for their needs.
When businesses learn how to deliver and evolve differentiated experiences, they can build strong and enduring customer relationships that enable business growth.
So what constitutes a customer experience?
The quality of your company’s customer experience is ultimately determined by the way customers feel after their last interaction. If the customer is unhappy, your company’s customer experience is bad. If the customer doesn’t have a feeling one way or the other, your company’s customer experience is mediocre. If the customer feels good, your company’s customer experience is satisfactory. But if the customer feels delighted, your company’s customer experience is a substantial competitive advantage. That is the only one that matters to success.
Companies lose customers for a variety of reasons, some of which they never discover. Sometimes customers walk away after a single unpleasant experience. Other times they’re frustrated by a series of small perceived problems. Is a lack of a customer experience strategy costing your company customers? Do you know the answer? It is not rocket science, is it? It is a key secret to your success, however.
The truth is, it usually takes significantly more time and energy to find new customers than it does to lose them. So you can be sure a strategy to build a positive customer experience can pay off when done well. All the marketing in the world cannot make up the damage when it is done poorly or ignored. That is the case in this instance I will discuss.
My wife and I moved to Merritt Island, where we bought a home and financed it through Space Coast Credit Union. We refinanced it and eventually sold in 2016. When we bought a new home in Melbourne, during January 2017, we did not finance with SCCU. They were not the most competitive.
The primary issue
Over the past few years, my wife and I have automated most of our finances and bill payments. I this case, our social security was automatically inputted into our account. It was deposited at 5 AM. Our mortgage was paid on the same day. It was paid at 1 AM. Notice that both transactions occurred well before the bank opened.
Related post: 7 Ways to Create a Customer Service Evangelist Business
What was the result? The credit union charged us a $30 overdraft privilege fee.
No software to check if it was the same day. The Just simple logic to see which one was first.
The amazing point of all of this is that SCCU assumes that customers have few options, when in fact they have many.
Worst customer service … my call to the bank
First, let me note that it took 15-20 minutes for someone to answer my call. No process for them to call me back, just wait.
When I told her my issue and the action I required (refund of the fee and an audit of the past six months for more occurrences) she insisted on explaining the details of the issue.
It was clear that the bank had many occurrences of this issue. She was not interested in hearing my input for making changes to their process, as it was clear to her, the bank was in the right.
I told her I had found a previous instance of this issue three months earlier, but she told me they could not go back that far to repay the fee.
She also said that any further instances of this issue and they could not refund the fee.
I asked if she could give me the name of the President of SCCU, and she said they could not give out that information. She did offer to transfer me to her manager (of member services), which she did. The manager’s name was Diana Biaze, and she did offer to refund both month’s fees with no associated threats.
She also gave me the name and address of the president so that I could send a letter explaining my dissatisfaction. However, she refused to give me his email or schedule a meeting with him for me. She said he did not meet with customers. Wow, that was an amazing input.
Both SCCU employees had an attitude and were not interested in hearing my perspective on needed changes to make this customer happy.
Worst customer service … taking time to get call answered
SCCU needs a system to deal with the large backlog of telephone calls to member services. They should offer a callback when the wait is longer than 3-4 minutes.
No authority to act
Not allowing the member services employee to refund the fee three months prior, was a big mistake, especially if her boss could do it. What is the point of that?
Making the issue worse
Neither employee could answer the question of why I should remain with SCCU. I guess neither considered themselves a part of SCCU marketing.
The bottom line
Here are a few of my observations about SCCU in summary.
Employees don’t care
If you hire people that are not delighted to be social and servicing people, you’ll likely end up with employees that don’t care. Nothing is worse for a customer’s experience.
Limited employee authority
No empowerment for employees to do the right things? You might as well build a robot to respond to customers. Nothing worse than having an employee that knows what needs to be done, but is not empowered to do it.
No interest in customer feedback
Many customers are itching to tell you how to improve. If they are not given an opportunity, it degrades the experience. Likewise, customers always feel good when they see positive improvements.
Related post: Handling Customer Complaints … 8 Mistakes to Avoid
No personalized engagement
Employees who rarely smile and engage socially at one on one engagement are at a very serious disadvantage in being able to create a delightful customer service and experience. In the longer term, a business needs to build relationships, particularly with its best customers. Hard to do with no personalized engagement.
Two-way conversations begin with employees listening carefully before responding. Being stuck on transmit mode in a two-way conversation won’t go anywhere fast.
To be effective in this new era, we as business people need to see our jobs differently. No more just focusing on metrics like clicks, video views or social media shares. We must successfully integrate our function with other business functions to create entire brand experiences that serve the customer all the way through their experiences throughout the business.
We can do better. Much better. But first, we need to stop seeing ourselves as crafters of clever brand messages and become creators of positive brand experiences.
There can never be enough focus on continuous improvement within a business, independent of how well the business is doing. It seems we all are looking to take our success to a new level. This is an excellent time to make a statement with all business functions.
Changing before you have to is always a good idea.