A refunds policy example: “If you have purchased services based on information provided by ABC Company (a pseudonym to protect the identity of the company- and not to be taken as referring to any particular company whatsoever) that has failed to perform according to this information, then in circumstances such as these, according to our Terms and Conditions, ABC Company will offer a full refund”.
Does this mean I get my money back?
What happened to customer satisfaction? And, what happened to promises made – even in the supplier company’s own published refund policies?
One of the universal complaints across all nations is the quality of service in the transaction process. Does not matter if one is dealing with the public or private sectors the screams are equally loud with frustration. Needless to say, there are product and service suppliers who provide very good customer service – and they flourish.
When the customer is ratcheting-up the rhetoric of discontent, then it’s time to stop and think what is causing all this angst – and how do I resolve it.
How many times have you experienced the supplier hide behind company policy? And how did you feel about that?
Comments like: Company policy is to offer no returns or refunds! We only offer an exchange!
Does this mean: We’ve got your money now buzz-off!
How do you or your company handle complaints?
What would be the wealth of your business if it achieved a 98-99% customer satisfaction rating?
Many aggressive complaints often evolve from a mishandling of the issues at the outset.
To state the obvious, the more the supplier refuses or pushes back, the more the customer is going to press even harder for resolution. Sooner or later the approach-avoidance instinct kicks and, in some instances, not long thereafter someone starts kicking butt! The old, I win – you lose game! Eventually no one wins – just two physically or emotionally bruised contestants returning to their respective corners.
Is there a better solution?
Well, yes – a framework for the dissatisfaction resolution conversation before things get nasty.
Here are ten steps one might contemplate as a supplier and as a customer in the dissatisfaction resolution process:
- Access: Is it frustrating finding someone competent, able and willing on the other side who is prepared to resolve the problem? Do you get passed further and further up the chain of command eventually to someone in Head Office (invariably out of state) who is uncontactable or unresponsive?
- Response time: Speed of reaction to the initial complaint at the outset sets the tone for problem resolution and satisfaction!
- Demeanour: Are both parties friendly, courteous and polite in their communications?
- Empathy: Is there a willingness to understand the other party’s perspective and the cause of their own annoyance at constraints in their complaint handling procedures (often beyond their control)?
- Genuine intent: Is there genuine and visible effort from both sides to solve the problem(s) and is constructive activity evident from both parties to find the best solution?
- Accurate/timely feedback: Is there accurate or misinformation given aimed at facilitating or inhibiting resolution progress?
- Policy or customer-driven: Is the resolution process policy-driven or customized to meet reasonable expectations of the complainant?
- Adequacy of the outcome: Is the solution an adequate compensation?
- Fairness: Is the compensation fair and reasonable to both sides of the transaction?
- Veracity: Keep the promise! Don’t renege on commitments and promises made!
So, are these 10 steps fool-proof? Well, no, nothing is!
The example at the outset refers to a discourse of discontent over a 12 month period where the service provided was abysmal by any standard.
By the end of 12 months the client requested a refund of monies paid – as per the supplier company’s published policies. The supplier’s response: Initially an offer to refund the unused component of the service contract – but then had a change of heart.
The service was disconnected and the customer told to ’get lost’!
Oh, along with a missive that stated “…all further emails will be ignored!”
Unnecessary and foolish, as the matter is about to enter the court system for resolution! But sadly an increasingly common practice of suppliers!
How would you resolve this or other product and/or service dissatisfaction problems?
Would you publish the company’s name if your claim for a refund was successful?