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Business Good customer service Laws

High standards or just acceptable customer service?

It is important to have high standards for customer service wherever you shop and whatever you are buying. In this article we’ll discuss briefly high standards, exceeding your expectations and your basic legal entitlements.

Good customer service is what you should be paying for. Anything below this is not acceptable. This is also the case when you are buying a product. The cost of the product includes the costs of the whole transaction process. Knowing what is acceptable and what exceeds good service will help you know when to complain and when to praise.

When I asked on my Facebook page for examples of excellent service, the results were interesting. For example, Paul said that he had ordered some chocolate Easter eggs and they had arrived broken. He had been impressed by the retailer sending out replacements and letting him keep the broken chocolate. I wasn’t impressed! This was the minimum they should have done, as they would have had to pay for the return. And what would they have done with it had he returned it anyway?!

Personally, I do not see this as a high standard of customer service, I see it as just acceptable. Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, Paul was entitled to goods free from defects and of satisfactory quality. Within 30 days of purchase he was entitled to a full refund. It would be up to the company whether they paid for the return or let him keep it. Telling him to return it would have cost them money and been pretty stupid, as they wouldn’t be able to resell it!

Excellent service would have been if the company had sent him a gift with the replacement.

Doing more than the legal minimum when you receive a complaint

 

When the retailer pays for return postage on a faulty item, that is the legal minimum requirement and is therefore not an example of “good service”. Good would be the company being very apologetic, treating you as an individual and speedily sending you a replacement or refund.

For the retailer to contact the courier who hasn’t delivered the item you paid for is the legal requirement, it’s certainly not “over and above”. If the retailer tells you to contact the courier, when your contract is with the retailer, would be bad service.

This may sound harsh or ungrateful or that there is an unnecessary sense of entitlement but it really isn’t. So many businesses try and fob consumers off (see 7 Common fob offs that companies use to not give refunds!) that when they get the correct response they feel it’s really good. It isn’t, it’s that the other responses are poor!

I recently complained to Tesco that an item was missing in my delivery. I had made a mistake. Being honest I told them that I had actually received the item and they then said that I could keep the item. That’s pretty good service. It helps with goodwill.

Here’s a good example of really touching service:

Butternut box sent blanket for dog no longer able to have their food as not long left to live

 

“Acceptable” service would have been to just acknowledge the change, “good” would have been to have shown some empathy, “excellent” is how they performed in this case.

In my article How to exceed customer expectations and why you should do it I provide some examples for businesses of what I believe is exceptionally good service. The example of the hotel upgrading us to a better room for free and then to the best room in the place. That’s really exceptional. I had not complained, , it was just pure niceness!

People remember how they were made to feel, so if you feel that you received something that someone else hasn’t, then you are nearer receiving “over and above” service.

And if you’re a consumer… make sure you know your legal rights!

Help with your complaints

book Logo cartoon cow at a laptop of book cover. How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!

 

And if you need help with complaining effectively and making sure you are never fobbed off. GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!

 

 

101 Habits of an Effective complainer book cover with logo

 

101 Habits of an Effective Complainer provides you with more tips like the one in this post

 

 

 

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Purchase downloadable templates to gain that redress simply and swiftly

The Complaining Cow – free support for businesses

Want to do the right thing for your customers and get them coming back time and time again? Here are some resources.

It takes 5 times as much to gain a new customer to retain one. So work on turning your customers into superfans who do much of the heavy lifting for you!

Join the Facebook Group Increase Sales through Customer Service: Compassion, Care and  Integrity  A private group where you can give and get support, advice and share good practice on how to improve customer service.

Free download Customer Service 5 ways to get rave reviews & referrals a few tweaks to your customer service can help you reduce the risk to your company’s reputation, finances and impact on customers and increase sales.

Customer Service how to turn customers into superfans raving about your products/services

 

Categories
Business Latest News Laws

Fix it, don’t chuck it!

Manufacturers must sell spare parts – it’s the law

From today, 1 July 2021, manufacturers of electrical goods are legally obliged for the first time to make spare parts for products available directly to consumers. This is being widely reported as a new legal right. The Government says:

“manufacturers required to make spare parts for products available for the first time – helping extend the lifespan of products by up to 10 years and preventing them ending up on the scrap heap sooner than they should.”

Electrical appliances to be cheaper to run and last longer with new standards Government website.

This is not really the full picture. It is a new legal right for when the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA) doesn’t already cover you. Under the CRA you are entitled to a full refund on items that are not of satisfactory quality, not as described, free from defects and last a reasonable length of time. You are entitled to a full refund up to 30 days from purchase and you have a right to repair or replacement after that time.

So, that right has been there for years. In fact, from 1979 with the now repealed Sale of Goods Act 1979!

The new law is aimed at manufacturers not the consumer so does not give them a right to repair.

Spares for repairs

The issue has been that manufacturers have been accused of deliberately making electrical goods not last a reasonable length of time whilst not making the parts available to repair machines. This in turn forces people buy new appliances. (Especially when consumers don’t know that they are entitled to a replacement from the retailer where they bought the item, if the item can’t be repaired!)

After what could be considered a reasonable length of time (see What is a warranty, a guarantee and what are my consumer rights?) consumers will now have access to spare parts where they couldn’t have done before.

The aim of this move is to improve the financial situation for consumers but also to reduce waste. About 1.5 million tonnes of electrical waste are generated every year in the UK.

What are your rights to repairs?

So, what are your consumer rights when it comes to those parts, if the items has already lasted a reasonable length of time and you are paying for the parts and labour? This is where it is less clear. Buying the parts should mean that the part is covered by the Consumer Rights Act and should last a further “reasonable length of time”. However, proving that the part caused another fault, for example, could be problematic.

What is a reasonable length of time for a new part in an older machine Ultimately, you are covered by the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and your contract will be with the company to which you paid the money for the repair, which might not be the original retailer.

It remains to be seen as to whether companies also put the prices of parts really high and still try and charge people for labour too, so people still buy new machines!

Help with your complaints

book Logo cartoon cow at a laptop of book cover. How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!

 

If you need help with complaining effectively and making sure you are never fobbed off. GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!

 

 

101 Habits if an Effective complainer book cover with logo

101 Habits of an Effective Complainer to help you become more skilled and assertive when making complaints (and see Rob’s review!)

 

 

 

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Purchase downloadable templates to gain redress