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    9 Replies Latest reply on Aug 10, 2008 11:57 PM by irmco1

    Can you help with my customer service quandry

    MYOB08 Adventurer

      Can you help with my customer service quandary?


      At the beginning of July we installed some software at a client's request. We tested it, and it worked, though as we were running out of time, it was a bit hurried.


      On Thursday, 3 weeks late we got a call stating that one aspect of the software was not working, and demanding that we visit the premises immediately to sort it out.


      We were unable to visit them on the Thursday, but offered to visit on the Friday, and offered to come in on the weekend if the Friday did not suit.


      Subsequent investigation has revealed that the software had a gremlin/bug in it, and many people across the country last week discovered this flaw and have complained about this - so the problem was not of our doing - it was the software - which we did not sell them - we were simply asked to install.


      We received two very angry phone calls from them about this situation, which they blame us for.


      I have sent them a very long a detailed email explaining how to fix the problem, and stating I appreciate their frustration. I explain that it was the software, and offered them 4 dates to come in and fix it free of charge.


      They however have told us they arranged for someone else to come in and sort out the issue and do not require us to come in.


      Now frankly I do not have a problem with this - mistakes do happen, and we are happy to deal with them, but if they are prepared to behave that way when an issue arise, then we really don't want to deal with them when a real mistake happens. So I don't care about losing their custom, but I do want to be seen as offering excellent customer service in relation to this issue?


      What should I do?


      We have offered to come in and been refused?


      Should I offer them their money back for what they paid us to do the install (it would be a pittance about $30)?


      Should I simply ask them how can I rectify the situation?


      Any suggestion for above and beyond customer service????
        • Re: Can you help with my customer service quandry
          LUCKIEST Guide
          Can you help with my customer service quandary, Good question

          Hopefully you will get a lot of good answers. To start a lot has to do with you and your company,
          The procedures that you have set up or will now be setting up to handle this problem.

          As you said it is NOT the money (in this case) it is customer satisfaction and good will

          *You Provide assistance with setting up MYOB software. "*The software had a gremlin/bug in it, and many people across the
          country last week discovered this flaw and have complained about this -
          so the problem was not of our doing - it was the software - which we
          did not sell them - we were simply asked to install."

          Only you and your company can make the right decision. Good luck, LUCKIEST
          • Re: Can you help with my customer service quandry
            Iwrite Pioneer
            You are not going to please everyone - you are going to have to do what you think is best and move on. Everyone is not reasonable.

            You do want a great reputation but you don't want to become known as the company that will give money back every time someone complains. People will abuse you.

            Trust yourself - do you feel you owe this customer anymore? What would you expect and be pleased with if you were the customer? Do think about that, you need to decide what type of customer you are going to tolerate.

            Luckiest is so right, in the end it is up to you to decide what is in the best interest of your business. Good luck.
            1 of 1 people found this helpful
              • Re: Can you help with my customer service quandry
                MYOB08 Adventurer
                Hi IWRITE,

                I have made the decision to do no further work with this company - mistakes do happen, and if they go straight to 100% anger over something that is not my fault and a minor issue.

                I just want to do the right thing over this issue - so don't offer to give them their money back?

                Any concrete suggestions?
                  • Re: Can you help with my customer service quandry
                    Iwrite Pioneer
                    I say give the money back. Never offer, simply give it back, explain your stance and be done.

                    It sounds like it is what you want to do.

                    I really struggled with this response. I believe in great customer service but I also believe that it is a two way street. A customer should never be allowed to treat you or your employees anyway and think that is okay because they are the customer. That is wrong.

                    The customer is not always right.
                      • Re: Can you help with my customer service quandry
                        snipperred Scout

                        Nice challenge,

                        Here's my two cents to add to the great suggestions above.

                        It's not the customer's fault for having the software issues and looking for you to represent the correction/ responsibility. It is a common misconception.

                        You can learn from this in the future by taking your opportunity at the original point of service to clarify your role, imdemnify yourself but also be proactive in suggesting ongoing service with technical issues. If you install a software, then you should be the one to give them any associated warranties, corresponding license agreements, and contact information for software support. If you have discretion over or are consulting them on alternative options between various software providers then you should include a distinction for service by each respective provider from your experience- to help them make the best decision up front.

                        Many customers will have no idea between a software issue and an installation discrepancy. So being up front and offering them to come in and make the determination for them i.e. if it was your responsibility then you cover the cost, if shared responsibility then you split, if the software provider then you address and represent their interest for a fee. Improve your customer service by getting this all established in advance of problems.

                        People talk about bad service experiences adamantly. With your current situation i would have recommended approaching it from the customer is always right perspective and then to negotiate their understanding on the matter face to face. The complication of not being available real time and not actually being responsible is tough. I agree that you need to state your position and hold your ground confidently. You should be able to do this with brevity rather than a long defensive e-mail. I like that you presented options and a free follow up to look into the matter. However do not refund for services rendered correctly.

                        An ignorant IT customer represents a possibility for a lot of repeat business. Having great service should make you a provider of choice and help your customers feel confident problems will be addressed fairly and appropriately. So there is no reason not to charge extra for that service, or at least to offer it as an option- for a fee of course.
                        1 of 1 people found this helpful
                  • Re: Can you help with my customer service quandry
                    Lighthouse24 Ranger

                    Is this a business client or an individual (consumer) user? If it's an individual consumer (or a tiny one-person business), you have good suggestions already.


                    If it's a large business client, I'd add the following:

                    Your profile suggests that this event occurred down under (in my experience, y'all can be a bit more direct in the way you address business-to-business service issues than we are here in the U.S.). Senior executives in large organizations are not unreasonable people. So when they seem to behave unreasonably, there is still a reason -- we just aren't necessarily privy to it. If you were personally interacting with someone at the senior level, chances are good that people lower in that organization provided the executive with less-than-factual information - maybe to keep themselves out of trouble, maybe because their brother-in-law is a competitor of yours . . . who knows.

                    If you were interacting with a middle manager or the in-house project manager/point-of-contact for whatever work you did, you could simply be experiencing "pass-through pain." Everyone was yelling at this guy to do something, so he needed someone -- anyone -- to respond. When no one did immediately, the dissatisfaction continued to build, like a giant storm wave on the ocean. It had to break somewhere. As anyone who does contract work for a living knows, your point-of-contact at the client site is always going to "evacuate" and you're going to stand on the beach and take the hit. It goes with the territory.

                    In either case, if you are absolutely certain that you did right by the client, then forget it and move forward. You'll probably never know what really happened. If you're not sure you "did right" by them, tell them that and find out how to make it right.

                    Good luck!
                    • Re: Can you help with my customer service quandry
                      MnlyTechnlgy Adventurer
                      I agree that there have been some great suggestions thus far and only you can determine which is the best and healthiest solution for your company. I would mirror that communication regarding the distinction of software and basic installation is not always understood. In my experience, what is plainly understood to me and select others is not necessarily what others understand.

                      From a customer service standpoint - I think you have done everything you can do at this point. You offered to make it right. You tried to go out of your way to accommodate the client, yet you have not been able to meet on middle ground. I agree with others that sometimes it is just best to let go and learn from it. In a way I don't agree with sending their money back only because of the message it would send, that it is okay to have work done and then complain horribly about it because you'll get refunded. However - as you stated, it is not a large amount and probably will have no adverse affect on the performance of your business moving forward.

                      Another suggestion I would have is to make sure you document everything that took place ... actions from the client as well as reactions from you and your staff. This way, if for some reason a formal complaint is made regarding your business practices, you at least have documentation to back you up.

                      That's my 2 cents ... Hope it helps.

                      Deb L
                      1 of 1 people found this helpful
                        • Re: Can you help with my customer service quandry
                          snipperred Scout
                          Holy Moly! That's a good point- documentation also from a legal standpoint. You should have some kind of work order with statement of work, imdemnifications, and so on. Maybe check with an attorney and get yourself covered. There must be people suing for these type of things. Another good reason for e-mail and for keeping your correspondences concise. That's a whole other can of worms but the point is looking at things from the perspective of when things go wrong- which they innevitably do.

                          A little due diligence for documenting your function tests, sending the reports or print screening your "services/ security"m logs etc- shoot yourself a quick e-mail from the server or computer. Maybe same applying some software compatability investigation- if someone installed IE7 and latest Quickbooks without looking into compatability issues, I'd say it was their responsibility. A good idea to do a back up in case things go wrong and maybe have an emergency recover button set up/ shortcut on the desktop or link to your site/ e-mail/ quick outline of troubleshooting on an html formatted blog post or something like that. Quick notes of computer name on network, serial numbers/ OS, set up w/ PcAnywhere or intermediate remote host in advance for those occasions when you cannot access onsite. Change automatic updates to manual where the software is on a questionable platform....

                          But you don't have to take my word for it. It's things like that that kept me coming back to my IT Consultant through a variety of up and downs over the years ;)
                        • Re: Can you help with my customer service quandry
                          Ask the customer.
                          Ask yourself, what would you want a vendor to do in the same circumstances if you were the customer.

                          The best test of your business decisioning is "what do you do when something goes wrong".

                          The best potential customer advocate is one who has been delighted by what you did to "make good" your error.

                          Suggestion: Decide (emotionally) if you would give him tripled his money back.