Simple rules for getting it right


I just came across the post 5 Things Customers Don’t Want to Hear…EVER by Tara Hunt and I immediately thought of two recent incidents where two companies were guilty of one or more of these “don’ts.” 

Case 1: Last Sunday, during the Ravens/Vikings game, Verizon Fios subscribers-my husband among them-found the broadcast on WBFF HD Channel 510 a bit strange. At first there was no audio at all. When it did come on, it was in Spanish, then English, then Spanish – on and on through much of the 1st half. Of course, the commercials came in just fine.

After my husband posted on the WBFF Facebook page asking about the problem, I began to follow both that page and the Verizon Fios page to see how each would respond. This is what I found:

  • WBFF posted immediately acknowledging there was indeed a problem and that it was being worked on. They also directed subscribers to another channel, albeit not HD, that was working. It was a blanket acknowledgement but at least they didn’t ignore it.
  • Verizon’s response was a bit less open. While they did comment on individual posts, asking subscribers to please send a private message, they made no public acknowledgement. I suppose Verizon felt that using private message was the way to go; the problem was those messages were very impersonal-robotic to a egree-and did little to assuage some very infuriated Ravens fans.

Perhaps Verizon should look at #3 and #5 from Hunt’s posting.

Case 2: My husband purchased a new blender and found it didn’t work. He called the service department and after going through a list of “try this” then “try that” scenarios, the company agreed to send him a new part. It will take 7-10 days. When he asked if they could expedite the part since this was a faulty product, the answer was “We have standard procedures for delivery.” In other words, that’s not our policy.

See number 1!

All this raises several questions for associations.

  • How do we respond to our members complaints? Are we receptive to the individual? Or do we give robotic responses?
  • How do we solve issues? Do we step beyond the rules for our members? Or do we play the “policy” game?

Sometimes, the answers aren’t really that hard to find.

Mariner Management & Marketing provides association management, volunteer coordinator and leadership development information for associations and non-profit organizations.