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.