Inform & Empower. It's so simple really.
I am a cyclist. Have been since I was a child and am hoping to stay that way long beyond my current two score and sixteen years. It is time for my road bike to go overseas to a place where I will be riding often; cheaper by far than renting bikes all the time and for sure a lot cheaper than buying a new one.
The easiest and cheapest way to get it there is on the plane with me but that is not a possibility as my car is too small for me to transport a packed bike box to the airport so various shipping methods were investigated and the perfect solution was found.
To complete my order online, so far so simple, all I needed was a Commodity Code. I won't bore you here what this is, why it is needed nor with the shenanigans over 2.5 hours I went through trying to obtain this number. Just suffice to say that I have the following plea ...
Please do not tell me when I am calling for the 4th time for assistance:
"I can't advise you."
"I'm sorry but this number is essential but I do not have any information to help you."
"I'm not trained in Customs." ...then in the next breath tell me that you are trained in such matters.
And, if you give me telephone numbers to call please make sure they are correct and still in operation.
You are a shipping company and as someone who is trying hard to be your customer it is my expectation that you should be able to help me complete your forms. If you are unable to provide me with the number because your company does not want to be held liable if you give me the incorrect number and this holds up my shipment or incurs me additional costs as a result then please simply apologise and tell me the truth.
I might not like it but at least you are not fobbing me off and you will retain my respect.
And get my business.
I've written about this here before ... informed & empowered employees are the heart of customer service and so often they are neither, leading to frustrated customers, unhappy employees and lost business.
It's so simple really.
UPDATE: I have just had a follow up call from the shippers to see if I was happy with my online booking process. Of course they received some accurate feedback. What a joy that the lady was so helpful, understanding and above all she listened. She apologised and then offered to send me labels and document wallets that you normally have to provide for yourself. A small thing however one I am really appreciative of.
It really is so simple.