August 28 2008 by Ellen Roseman
Have you done it? Left a store without buying because you were fed up?
There are many reasons why you might feel frustrated enough to walk out. The store staff ignore you. There aren’t enough cashiers. The customers ahead of you dawdle. The advertised specials are missing or mispriced.
A whopping 86 per cent of Canadians, according to a survey released by Maritz Canada, have left a store without buying something because they felt they had waited too long for service. A Globe and Mail story touched a nerve, attracting 181 comments.
Customers frustrated with long waits will go to the competition, said Maritz. They will rant about their experience and post comments online.
But they will stay longer if retailers offer music, refreshments, reading materials, an apology or a smile.
But things are different if you’ve already bought something and you have to fix a problem. You call or email a company (often dealing with its outsourced customer service department) and wait for a response.
You tell your story over and over again to each person who handles your calls or emails. You can’t walk out. You’re a captive customer, trapped in an indifferent and inferior system.
Welcome to my world. I hear from captive customers every hour of the workday. They’re mad as hell and they’re not going to take it any more. But what can they do?
If you learn how to navigate the system, you can share your experience with others. That’s what Karl did here this week, printing email addresses for useful contacts at Bell Canada and its new owner, the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan.
Speaking of Bell, they have a new advertising campaign, “Today just got better,” which makes liberal use of words ending in “er” — faster, easier, gamer, worker, talker, texter, multi-tasker, music lover. You can read the corporate new release here.
Did anyone notice they’re using my initials?
Maybe it’s a backhanded compliment, considering how much flak I collect (and pass along) about Bell’s flagging service. If their new strategy is to deliver a better customer experience, then why not tip a hat in my direction with their ER campaign?