Do you want to be right or do you want paying customers?

When it comes to being a valued service provider, how much is being RIGHT worth?  What if, in your insistence to be RIGHT, you risk losing a customer?


I am so angry right now I could scream.  I recently upgraded my family’s cell phone plan and got myself locked into a contract with some pretty fancy phones.  Admittedly my first mistake was getting my construction worker husband a smart phone.  In the interest of saving a couple of bucks I got him what is best described as a Blackberry knock off.  One of the buttons stopped working so I sent it back and swapped it out for a new one.  I was charged $50 because allegedly something was wrong with the screen.  Well, now the display is messed up and naturally I’m worried if I exchange it again I will be out another $50.


I called Customer Care and spoke with a very nice representative who told me to take it in to a store and have one of their reps look at the phone and note there’s no physical damage to the screen, other than the messed up display.  I was promised I would not be charged.  I go to the store where a very nice young man agreed with me, apologized profusely on behalf of T-Mobile and agreed that I should not be charged AGAIN.  He even got Customer Care on the phone, explained the entire situation, and they also agreed that I shouldn’t be charged.


Enter another T-Mobile employee.  He looks at the screen and tells Employee #1 that I will be charged.  #1 asked Customer Care, and they still maintain that I shouldn’t be charged.  #2 tells #1 that he guarantees I will be charged.  Customer Care on the phone insists that I shouldn’t be and tells #1 to make the proper notes in the system.  #1 does exactly that and tells me that he can’t guarantee anything but that he’s made all the proper notes and we’ve done everything we can per the instructions from Customer Care.  #2 continues to insist to #1 that I will be charged.  I finally interrupt and ask what about the insurance I’m currently paying $8 extra per month for?  Shouldn’t that cover something?  #2 finally addresses ME and says no.  I’m going to be charged $50.  Even though Customer Care and Employee #1 were trying to help, Employee #2 insisted on digging in his heels and being, above all else, RIGHT.  The damage to the phone was clearly MY fault, NOT T-Mobile’s.  I kid you not, those were his words.  He even said it was “not fair” of me to try to blame T-Mobile.


I am not happy.  I have been a loyal customer for several years and recently, because of so many years of great service, signed a 2 year contract and got my whole family on T-Mobile.  My phone bill almost tripled after going from simple cell service for one to what we have now.  I was glad to pay it because I felt like T-Mobile valued my business.  In the space of 20 minutes one hideous encounter with a really bad employee has made me question doing business with this company.


What does this mean for Recruiting?  Think about how we deal with our customers, whether we’re 3rd party, internal, or even how we treat our customer the job seeker.  Heaven forbid we ever treat people the way this kid treated me and my husband today – Specifically…


He didn’t even acknowledge me.  He overheard the conversation and came up to address Employee #1.  The first time he spoke to me was 10 minutes into the conversation when I asked him a question.


He didn’t care about my point of view.  I felt I had been unfairly charged and was worried about that happening again.  Regardless of who was right, just simply recognizing my frustration would have helped a lot.


He didn’t try to offer a different solution.  I would have gladly paid out of pocket for a different / better phone.  If he had just acknowledged my frustration, explained that unfortunately I was going to be charged, no it wasn’t fair but hey would I be interested in purchasing this $300 phone that would stand up to my husband’s abuse?  I would have been SOLD.


He had to be RIGHT.  And made sure we all knew it.  I finally agreed that he was probably correct per policy and that I just wanted to know if T-Mobile would waive the charge for me since Customer Care and Employee #1 agreed that I shouldn’t be charged.  I even offered to take it up with T-Mobile Customer Care if/when I got hit for the $50.  That’s when he told me the damage was clearly my fault, not T-Mobile’s, and railed against my unfairness.  All within earshot of the other customers in the store.


Moral of the story?  Recruiters, just like cell phone companies, are providing a service.  Treat people with dignity and respect, acknowledge when they’re frustrated, and do our best to offer a reasonable solution to solve their pain.  It really is that simple.

Views: 98

Comment by Katherine Anne Farrell on July 8, 2011 at 11:09am

I couldn't agree more.  I have been a sole proprietor/owner of my own agency for 30 years.  I work alone.  I consider my clients as both my co-workers and employers.  I wouldn't be paid if it weren't for them.  So, with that in mind....I try to keep them very very happy.  I have 2 types of guarantees in place.  The first is that I expect to be paid after the candidate completes 90 days of satisfactory service.  If there is any doubt, either release the candidate and pay me nothing OR ask me for more time.  The second option is one that my smaller clients sometimes prefer - pay 1/3 at 30 day intervals.  Whatever "I've earned" I can keep - the balance is not paid until the next 30 days.  But I take this one step further:  if, after the guarantee has expired and my contractual obligation has been fulfilled and a problem crops up - I will usually offer some sort of credit on a future placement...maybe 25% of what they've paid.  This of course is only with a valued client...if, I'm not interested in working with this client again - I will stand firm on my policy.  However, most of my clients are valued and I will do whatever it takes, within reason, to keep them happy.  I have 100% client retention.


As I said, I couldn't agree with you more!

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on July 8, 2011 at 5:06pm
Thank you Katherine!  I'm so glad someone agrees with me!  :)


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