"Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word"
"1978 Blue Moves album" chirped the OCD Pop Quiz voice in my head. "Great sleeve artwork, so-so album, although 'Tonight' is an overlooked Elton classic", it added.
That voice got me into trouble many years ago when, along with 3 friends, I won a company Pop Quiz Night. Had I realised the 1st Prize was the 'honour' of organising the following years' quiz I would have made like a professional cricketer and thrown the last few questions in order to come 2nd and win some goodies instead. The organisers knew what they were doing, keeping it quiet!
Anyway ..... the topic of today's article is again, Customer Service. I could have titled this article, "How to lose customers by failing to do the easiest thing of all when they complain", but somehow that didn't grab me as overly catchy.
I have been a happy customer of Moonpig, the online personalised greetings cards company, for around 6 or 7 years now. They have been good to me: they give me a huge selection of designs available right here on my computer screen, their prices are reasonable and best of all they remind me of everybody's birthdays so I never forget. So, Happy Paul.
Until the other day, that is. Now I'm the first to agree that anyone can make a mistake; sometimes things go wrong despite all best efforts. We have to understand that and allow for the occasional error, right? Provided it's put right quickly and properly, they tell us complaint situations are somewhat paradoxically an opportunity to improve relations with our customers.
Two old and close friends of mine - I will refer to them here as Boris & Doris or B&D - recently moved house in England. Being so far away in New Zealand I decided to use trusty old Moonpig to send them not just a 'Welcome to your new home' card, but also a personalised mug for each of them as little house-warming gifts. So, the big day arrived and B&D moved as arranged.
The next day, I had some slightly odd messages from them and eventually discovered that Moonpig had only delivered one mug. The second mug and the card were conspicuous by their absence. Boris was thrilled with his mug, but Doris was not at all happy - why had I sent a gift for Boris but nothing for Doris? Why indeed.
So, I called the Moonpig Customer Service Hotline. 15 minutes of infuriating 'hold' music on an International phone call later, I gave up and emailed them instead. Two days later (now 3 days after The Big Move as far as B&D were concerned, I received a response from them. Here is the content:
Now, don't get me wrong; I was pleased they had acted to correct the mistake. I was relieved to know Doris would soon receive the missing mug along with the card I had so painstakingly selected and personalised.
But something was missing; Moonpig hadn't said, "Sorry". I was annoyed by that. Very annoyed. And then to see the comment they put against "Payment Type" - 'CS goodwill". Isn't that what companies say when they think they've done nothing wrong, but give you a freebie to make you go away? I had paid in full for everything I wanted, so now I'm even more annoyed.
Had Moonpig answered their darn phone within, say 5 minutes, it could all have been different. Had they replied saying, "Sorry about that - we are sending the missing items right away", I would have been happy. But they didn't, and I'm disappointed.
This may be the end of a beautiful friendship - and all because they failed to use a few little words that would have cost them nothing. Sorry Seems to Be The Hardest Word as far as Moonpig Customer Service is concerned. It's their loss. Great song though - I'm off to listen to it over a coffee!