Here's a lesson on how to deal with what I believe to be a legitimate complaint, and one I made in a light-hearted style. This week I received the following comment on my post about my dealings with the online estate agent eMove. It comes from Beth Rodwell, a / the director of eMove UK:
"Hi Tom I think what you have done here is utterly disgraceful and disgusting. eMove took on your listing free of charge and honoured your contract for a further 5 months out of 'courtesy'. We charge £399 for a full price listing and offered an extended 12 month listing to you for £199!!! All other sellers in the same position were so grateful to us for doing this and they extended their listing with us / or sold their property through us. We are incredibly successful at what we do. Its bad enough that you were so ungrateful towards this gesture but even worse you then felt the need to publicly gepardise our company reputation over it. What can I say ... this is what happens when you do someone a favour !"
'Utterly disgraceful and disgusting'. Wow! Beth, let me explain how complaints work. Customers are allowed to complain. The end.
And a company can of course choose how it responds. All complaints should be seen as an opportunity to rescue the customer and to try to put things right. What Beth has seems to have tried to do is to explain the companies position, which is an entirely reasonable thing to do. But you will notice she has not quite gone about it in the best way.
I think that she comes across as quite aggressive in her email, as if she takes my complaint personally. She does not apologise, indeed has never done so, which I believe is a must when dealing with customer concerns. Even if she does not agree with my comments, an apology for any inconvenience I have experienced would have gone some way to ease tensions.
Note how blame for the whole situation is again shifted onto me, the customer. That's surely a no-no, isn't it? An unhappy customer generally does not appreciate being told that they are the architect of their own dissatisfaction. I'm afraid that in this free market world, companies have to accept some criticism, even if they do not agree.
Beth, I'm very sorry to have jeopardised your reputation. Sounds like you'll be OK, given that all of the other customer you kindly took on had a good experience. Although, I note that you're not too busy to do a keyword search for your own name. I hope you enjoy this post, which was the inevitable result of your failure to appreciate how to deal with customer concerns. What can I say...this is what happens when you complain about a complaint made by someone with a blog.