In one move, Shaw Cable broke two universal rules of customer service relationship building.
My dad recently signed up for Shaw Cable’s plethora of TV options. The PVR, the HD, the Movies on Demand, the blah blah…so he’s getting used to dealing with not only the new technology but the new service departments that go along with them.
He’s a big UFC fan and the family was really looking forward to an upcoming night of fights (Hey, fun rhyme). My dad did what he needed to do to order the pay-per-view, subscribing through the cable box and ordering system, only to realize he’d rather have it in high definition. It’s a bit more money but he felt like splurging. So, he signed up for that as well. But, that begged the question, would Shaw Cable notice that he had signed up for both formats, automatically cancelling the first order in favour of the second one? It’s not like he could watch both. Maybe Shaw would think he was ordering different versions for different TVs in his house? Weird, but it could happen I guess.
So rather be safe than poorer, he called Shaw customer service to explain that he’d like to cancel the first order.
Ideal response: “Thanks for contacting us. Of course we’ll cancel the first order. This event will look great in high definition. Good call. Thanks for your business. Enjoy the fights.”
Actual response: “We’ve noticed you’ve done this before so I’ll do it one more time for you but next time we’ll charge you.” I’m sorry, what now?
Where it Went Wrong
Scolding and threatening your customers is never a good tactic.
Here’s two things you should know about my dad…
- First, he’s a pretty smart guy and he knows how to operate Shaw’s pay-per-view ordering service. This isn’t something that would be a regular thing.
- Second, he had paid for a product/service that he hadn’t received yet. He wasn’t calling after the fact to correct a mistake, he was finalizing the transaction between business and customer.
So my dad asks for an exchange of service that actually puts more money in the pocket of Shaw Cable, and he gets a threat and a condescending tone. Here’s the takeaway Shaw: this was a missed opportunity to do right by your customer and support them in how they want to use your product and service. Though he’s not a big fan of change, if they had tried to charge him, as they threatened to do next time, he not only would have canceled his service with Shaw (that’s months of lost revenue, including future UFC pay per views. Thanks “no contract”) but he would have told everyone he’d ever meet to go with a rival company. Is that the kind of relationship you want with your customers, Shaw Cable?
The Broken Rules
In one statement, the Shaw Cable operator broke two tried and true universal rules that will only hurt their relationship building with their customers:
- Platinum Rule: Treat Others How They Want to Be Treated – and no one ever wants to be talked down to and threatened.
- It’s Cheaper to Keep Customers than Acquire New Ones – does the amount it would have cost to cancel the first order outweigh the cost of a damaged relationship with your customer, or the loss of them as a client? Hint: No.
As a business, you should be working with your customers, not against them. With the amount of competition out there, companies need to be very aware that their customer relationships are everything. It should never be an “us vs. them” thing because the customer has all the power in their wallet. Build a positive relationship with your customers or they’ll use that power to go somewhere else.
What are some customer service rules you think should never be broken?