I decided not to write my annual plea listing all the jurisdictions in which I file tax returns and asking them for a thank you note. I’ve yet to receive a thank you note for paying taxes from any jurisdiction, even the jurisdictions where I don’t live. (We did fight a war over taxation without representation but that’s a topic for another day.)
Recently, I was talking to a colleague at work. She recently purchased home appliances. Something happened and delivery of her appliances was delayed. The company proactively apologized and, without her asking, gave her a credit on her payment. She was pleasantly surprised and is telling everyone the story about how great the store has been to work with.
Of course, my luck in home improvement hasn’t been as good. Our house needs new garage doors. We called a company that was referred to us to get an estimate. We were told someone would call to set up an appointment in two business days or less. A few days came and went, no call. I called back. They apologized and said someone would call within a day. It’s been almost a week. Nothing drives me crazier than when I’m trying to buy something and the company makes it difficult. We’re moving on and will buy our garage doors elsewhere. As enthusiastic as my colleague was about her experience, I’ve been the same telling people about my experience. If you treat me poorly before I buy something from you, how will you treat me if I were an actual customer? The thought frightens me.
We live in a viral world. How you treat customers will instantly be available to the world via social media. Every interaction matters. People are forgiving if a mistake is acknowledged and dealt with promptly. They’ll even become your free marketing department, as is the case above.
Oh, and customers appreciate thank you notes. If any taxing authorities are reading this, I don’t even need a personalized note. You’ve got my email – just send me a short note thanking me for my payment.