"A One Time Goodwill Gesture"

When I got my new Q a couple of months ago I was told by the sales guy that I’d get three months of unlimited data access and then [I’d be bent over the table by the obscene rates mobile carriers charge up here]. He wisely suggested starting out with the cheapest plan and then upping it when the free period expires.

So imagine my surprise when this month my Telus bill arrives and lo and behold it’s about $250 higher than it should be. Frustrating, yes, but hey these things happen. I dialed up Telus and explained to the guy what had happened – he stuck me on hold for ten minutes (lord knows why).

When he finally returned he said “I checked and you weren’t given that service but as a one-time goodwill gesture I’ll credit you those charges and add the three month unlimited service to your account”.

Goodwill gesture? Huh?

I’ve heard about this kind of snarky comment in a few places recently, one of which was a post by Seth Godin about an exchange he witnessed in a Radio Shack recently.

To put some background to this. I’ve been a Telus customer since 1998 (back when they were Clearnet) and aside from one month where I didn’t realize my Credit Card had expired have made every payment on time and never made so much as a peep about my bill. So, when I call to say “Hey you guys missed something” I don’t expect to be informed that YOU’RE doing ME a favour by fixing your own mistake.

Sure I can understand that there are probably quite a few people out there who try to scam the system (when buying my phone there was a guy there trying to say they had promised him everything under the sun) but it shouldn’t mean that an organization needs to treat all of their customers like they’re up to no good.

If you want to go down a philosophical route it comes down to things like the “Law of Attraction” or “Boomerang Theory”. Basically what you put out is what you get back. Treat your customers like they’re criminals and you’ll get criminals for customers.

If it’s a problem within your organization find ways to reward the good customers and allow the bad ones to identify themselves through their actions. The way the Telus mentality seems to be, there is no opportunity for me to elevate myself to “Good Customer” as I’ll probably only ever deal with them when there is a problem. So we’re all “Bad Customers”.

The problem for Telus is eventually the good people will get sick of this treatment and move on – but the bad one’s will stick around because at the end of the day they know they got their hand caught in the cookie jar (or manage to swipe the odd cookie).

Telus had the opportunity to perform great customer service, acknowledge the mistake, correct it and thank me for being a customer – for that they would have gone up a notch in terms of my loyalty and probably would have scored a nice post like the Misk guys got earlier in the year.

Instead, with just a few ill-chosen words, they pissed me off and managed to leave a sour taste in my mouth even though they fixed the charges.

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