I was chatting today with a friend about a recent site launch for her company. I helped walk her through some of the difficulties surrounding a very adventurous development plan including working with two different developers for front end vs back end. Upon launch, there were a few things that I suggested should be changed from a user experience standpoint and she told me she was contacting the developers to have them fix it. She said that, “she hoped they would even see the email.” I asked her if hearing back from them had been an issue and she said that that was the case with them and several others. I have but one question; what in the hell is wrong with people?

Now I will admit that people have some generally unrealistic expectations of companies. Most people expect a response on social media within 6 hours and by email within 12. And more than ¾ of the time companies can’t, or at least don’t, meet those expectations. But you have to try. Companies are failing because they don’t care in the least about customer service. There. I said it. Companies have lost touch with what it means to be customer centric.

Now, the customer is NOT always right. I repeat. The customer is NOT always right. But they’re still people. You still have to respond. You still have to show up. When they have a problem, you HAVE to be there. First, if you’re not there someone else will be. Let’s talk internet providers.

Go on Twitter. Watch people bad mouth one provider and see how quickly their competitors chime in. Do the people complaining say, “this is the first time I’ve complained about this” or “company x has returned my messages and I’m just not happy”? No. They typically say things like, “I still haven’t heard from company x after umpteen requests.” It’s not that the companies have done wrong by them, it’s typically that they’ve done nothing.

That is the ultimate failure. NOT responding. When a customer reaches out to you for help, they are making themselves entirely vulnerable. They’re asking for help and people hate to ask for help. But worse, they hate to ask for help TWICE.

There’s a company in the US where when you call them, EVERY phone in the office rings. ALL OF THEM. AT ONCE. And someone picks up. And they talk to you. Can you imagine that? Can you imagine if people answered you? Can you imagine what the would feel like and how happy you would be to be a customer of THAT company?

When you have a chance to connect with your customers, do it. The benefits you reap will be unimaginable. Just by answering the call.

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