On a day when I find myself defending two companies who have me as a client since years, I find it so obvious to share this simple lesson on customer service. In any industry it isn’t possible to give 100% satisfaction, something ought to go wrong sometime, somewhere. Specially if you are a bank or a hosting service dealing with large no of users. So I find these two gentlemen one after the other, complaining about their experience with HDFC and Hostgator respectively.
Both HDFC and Hostgator are service providers whom I have been very satisfied with (In fact this site is hosted on Hostgator since inception). When I saw the first tweet from Ashutosh about HDFC asking for a photo identity for a simple work, I replied and defended HDFC. My defense was partly from my experience and largely in good faith. HDFC has been good to me, not perfect, but generally very good. And I jumped to defend them. Pause.
Take 2. Tanmay tweeted about issues he was having with Hostgator and I jumped to defend Hostgator. Hostgator has been nothing less than fantastic for me and a lot of my small sites including this one is hosted with them. For a long time even Onlygizmos was hosted with Hostgator and we NEVER had any issues. Shared hosting services are known to give poor performance / oversell under the ‘unlimited’ tag, but yet HG found me defending them.
Now, as things turn out to be, in both these cases I was wrong. HDFC acknowledged to Ashutosh a little later that they indeed need a photo ID from him and Tanmay informed me that Hostgator has acknowledged the problem to him. My reply to both of them was within seconds of their tweet going public, way faster than any PR mechanism or online reputation management system would kick-in for them on Twitter.
What does this tell us?
As a service provider / business, your best customer service agents are your existing customers. The best publicity you can get is from word of mouth and who better then your own users to do that? You may not be able to deliver a 100% all the time, but if you have good karma, it will come back!