I’ve been dealing with a well-known web design company who developed a content management system for my customer’s web site. It is found that something does not work properly on the web site. PHP script errors appear on web page when the customer tries to update their web site.
Unfortunately, the web development company does not want to fix the error for the customer, unless they are paid a certain amount (which I think they should not charge at all) to “upgrade” the system. They claim to have developed the scripts using PHP version 4, but now that the server has been upgraded to PHP version 5, the scripts do not work any more. That is, they blame the problem on the server.
I checked the scripts but did not find any problems due to new PHP version. I found the errors as common programming errors, which can be fixed easily by them who developed and understand the system. In addition, the developer could not answer me when asked for exactly what outdated features of PHP 4 that the scripts are using that are not working now.
They refused to fix the problems for the customer, saying that the web site is not hosted with them. But I think this is not a very good reason, because a web site can be hosted and deployed anywhere, not necessarily theirs. They should support the web site no matter where it is housed.
Now they say they are no longer interested in serving the customer, and they say since I am so “expert”, then I should fix the errors for the customer. Well, even if I am in web development business, they are still the one who created the system. I think it is their responsibility to support the customer and not just simply pass the buck and walk away.
In customer service, perhaps there are three kinds of attitude that we can adopt.
We can be obedient to the customers and obey whatever they ask us to do. Tell me what you want and I’ll do it for you. If you don’t tell me anything then I will not do anything for you.
We can also be of service to the customers and serve them in their needs and wants. Is there anything I can help you? I have become more proactive in serving you.
We can also be “loving” to the customers by giving them our “love”, not only our service. We are here to bless you and make your life better. We will serve you even if you are not (yet) our customer.
Have you ever composed an email or made a phone call to your service provider to make a complaint, only to find yourself being ignored? There is no reply from them whatsoever!
When a customer sends me some complaint, comment and suggestion, I have learned to at least give an acknowledgment in reply.
When a customer takes her precious time to complain to me, I want to thank God because, unlike some customers who simply walk away to another provider, she is still concerned of me and wants to do business with me!
When we are so bogged down by work, we forget whom we are working for. Customers are the reason we businesses exist and they are the one we serve and the reason of our work. They are our kings, and should be considered as distraction or interruption.
So, do not ever ignore your customers, no matter how slight the issue is. Ignoring them is as good as asking them to just go away!
In serving customers, I’ve learned that transparency is one best policy to adopt.
Let say you are expecting an urgent incoming email but suddenly your mail server goes down. You just can’t send or receive emails at all. You become frustrated and call up your hosting provider. You are about to curse them.
“We are sorry for the inconvenience. We just restarted the server. Please try to check your email again in 5 minutes.”
Have you heard such standard reply before? Perhaps few weeks later the same thing happens again. And you get a reply just similar to the above, again and again.
What if your hosting provider is so honest to explain to tell you that they are facing such as such problem, taking such as such steps to fix it, and doing such as such to prevent this from happening again in the future? Will it not be better?
Problems can occur from time to time. But customers can judge us by how we handle problems. Instead of hiding the problem and keeping the customers in the dark, we could be more transparent and let customers know exactly what happens.
This way, we will not only pacify our customers, but could actually delight them!