Some thoughts on customer service
Some thoughts on customer service

Some thoughts on customer service

Customer service is something that matters a lot to me. Both in my small virtual world micro business and my editing work. If a client spends even a small amount, they’re entitled to value for money.

I learned a lot from my micro business selling clothes for female avatars. Most customers and clients are polite, the odd one is perhaps not, but they all deserve the same courtesy. One thing that’s important is to establish what the client or customer’s problem is. And then to find the best way to fix it. This sometimes means offering options.

I was reminded of this some time ago when I was on the end of a rather abrupt customer service person. I subscribed to a stock photo service and found I couldn’t access the stock I’d favourited. I’d contacted the service before, and they suggested I clear cache and that should sort it. Eventually I did, and it didn’t.

Because I felt the photo stock was perhaps not best for my business or brand, I mentioned when I contacted them that I was thinking of unsubscribing. This was a side note to my general query.

I didn’t say I was definitely unsubscribing.

Mostly, I just wanted access to the photos. Because I’d paid for access and there was a problem at their end, not mine. I was friendly and polite. However, within minutes I noticed that my subscription was marked to end in about twelve days. The customer service person had decided that I was definitely unsubscribing, without actually confirming it.

I just wanted the photos and to see if there was anything new I might want to download. So, when I was notified that the problem was resolved, I went in and downloaded everything even faintly of interest. I hadn’t really exploited my subscription as much as I should have. So I was going to make the most of it in the final days.

But… they lost a customer.

I might have stayed on another month, or more. I’d already delayed unsubscribing for months, always hoping to see new photos in the colours I was looking for. I felt there was still some reason to stick around.

If I had been handling the issue from the customer service side, I would have handled it very differently.

First up, there was a problem with multiple customers not being able to access stock. So that had to be resolved. It was definitely not the customer’s fault.

Secondly, I would have told the customer how to unsubscribe rather than making an executive decision for them. I would also have pointed the customer to the current survey asking clients about the kind of stock they were looking for. And I would have made it clear that they could unsubscribe or resubscribe at any time.

Instead, they gave me the opportunity to test the boundaries of what I was allowed to download, and it turned out to be more than I realised.

I’d been flirting with the idea of switching to a different service. In the meantime, I saved some money.

Since then I’ve ditched most photo stock, opting for a more streamlined look with templates. But that customer service experience shows why it’s not a good idea to act in haste.

It’s something for editorial service providers to bear in mind too. Read a message carefully. Find out what the client really wants. Offer options.

Don’t pull out the rug from under them because you’ve just lost some business.

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