Small Business – Is Your Customer Service Blue?

December 7th, 2011

I’ve been digging around on my hard drive lately because I have a very bad habit of writing things to publish and then never publishing them. Here is an article I wrote a long time ago, but the story and the message still applies today. I think this was writen in early 2007.

Unless you’ve been on a deserted island since February 14 I am sure you heard about the Jet blue mess.

Briefly due to snow storms they had something like 9 planes sitting on the tarmac for six to ten hours, toilets overflowing, no food, bad air, just and all around bad situation. They also canceled 1000 flights and didn’t get back on schedule for a week

If you are a business owner there are a number of big lessons being taught here. If you are a consumer there is one big lesson being taught here.

As a business owner you have to look at your customer service department.
What is the worst thing that can happen in your business?
What plans do you have in place if the worst happens?
Do you have established policies and procedures?
Do you give authority to people that work with your customers?
Do you hire people in these positions that have common sense just in case there are exceptions?

Another lesson is don’t sell your product so cheap that you can’t support the customers service expectations.

Don’t promise what you can’t deliver and make sure your employees don’t either.
Don’t boast in public how good you are if you know in your heart your not.

David Neeleman, the CEO of Jet Blue stated in an article in INC. magazine in 2006 that he was not in the aviation industry he said, “We’re in the customer service business.”  OOPPS!

Here is my customer warning and a small rant. You have heard it from your birth “you get what you pay for!”

Jet Blue sells cheap transportation. Because of that they couldn’t support their customers in this situation.

Years ago when I was in sales I would ask my customers this question. There are three things I can deliver to you, quality, service, or a low price. Which two out of the three do you want because you can’t have all three?

As a customer if you choose to be cheap and you get stung you don’t have a huge argument to stand on. With that being said no matter what you buy you have some expectations, just make sure the complaint fits the price you paid.

In Jet Blues case I think ten hours on a runway is a little excessive. As a consumer you can vote with your pocket book and by telling others about your bad experience.

Now go sell something,