Customer satisfaction often has as much to do with how you respond when there’s a problem, as with whether there are any problems in the first place.
A few weekends ago, our family visited the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta. It was a major disappointment in most respects and for many reasons, definitely not worth the $56 we paid in admission fees. Our extended family was all grumbling about what we felt was a huge waste of time and money, although my younger son still wanted a Coca-Cola t-shirt from the gift store at the end of our time there.
As I was making my purchase, the sales employee asked if I had enjoyed my visit. I looked at him, surprised and rather skeptical. “Honestly?” I asked. “Yes, please,” he affirmed sincerely. “Well….” I began — and then proceeded to honestly (yet kindly) tell him what we didn’t like. I apologized for dumping so much negative feedback on him and said I would be happy to write a letter to management. He said, “Actually, I am a manager and I would like to hear your feedback,” grabbing a piece of paper to take notes.
I told him that my husband and I had even been talking about asking for our money back. Without arguing my perspective or defending anything about the tour, he said, “I’m so sorry to hear that. I can help you get a refund right now if you’ll just follow me.” He radioed to a colleague at the ticket window, walked me over, and made sure I went to the front of the line for a refund from an equally kind ticket rep. He thanked me for my honest feedback instead of just saying everything was fine. He also gave me his business card and asked me to please email him with any additional thoughts, which I promised I would do. (And I did, and he again responded quickly and appreciatively.)
Whether or not my input will make any difference, who knows. But I can tell you that I’m willing to give them another chance just because I felt respected and valued when I gave my feedback, even when that feedback was negative. I’m also convinced this is why so many people (myself included) are such Mac loyalists. Ever dealt with a Genius at the Apple Store? I feel heard, my experience is valued, my time is respected, my problem gets fixed. Who cares if the product isn’t always perfect; who wouldn’t want to do business with that kind of place?