Sunday, November 29, 2015

Who Needs Repeat Customers Anyway?

Article: 5 Key Ways to Build Customer Relationships

Let's start today's blog with a visit to the Complaints page

Right from the start - and until present day, TSDC's customers have had a story that goes like this: 

"I was very disappointed with the organization and services of the company."

"What a disaster!"

" SLEAZE factor"

"Utter lack of professionalism."

"Service? Nope, they are possibly the worst vendor possible. Once they close the sale, they forget your name." "Never buy if you think you might need service or support."

"Overall, Sliding Door was difficult to deal with after the sale. In the end we used only 2 doors and we would not order from them again. I reluctantly gave one star rating because there is nothing lower."

"I will NOT be recommending the services of this company, furthermore, I discourage ANYONE from doing any business with these people."

Bottom line for most (former) customers:
"wouldn't recommend"
"I don't think I would choose this product if I had to do it over again."
"Buyer Beware"

"If you are a minority go elsewhere and boycott the store."

"avoid dealing with this company" "I highly suggest you shop elsewhere."

OUCH - That's gotta hurt - right?  So... What does The Sliding Door Company offer their customers - especially in the way of Customer Service?  First, let's see what their own comments and apologia say about how they view their customers:
"I want to point out that none of the comments above have any history, so that doesn't necessarily mean that it is not a true post."  
"We do acknowledge that both customers as well as a number of others did not have a good experience with us in that time period.  Our customer satisfaction is high, and our sales process is smooth and efficient."  
"We are sorry you didn't have a pleasant experience and respect your decision of posting your experience.  However, The Sliding Door Company in California is a completely different company. We do not share the same management nor do we share the same employees. ... We would greatly appreciate if you would remove this posting and share your experience on their respective Yelp page as we have undergone personnel changes and implemented new policies to ensure an excellent customer service experience for each of our clients."  
"The above information regarding pricing is absolutely false."  
"This review is nothing short of a lie" 
"It is never our intention to hurt anyone. (but) ... We support our team, and we appreciate and stand behind the great work they do."
"There are always two sides to every story.  In this case all the complaints are related to the installation" ... "We are very happy that Donna loves the doors and her suggestion to find another company is an overstatement."
"Our Customer Service Department is typically very responsive and helpful and this feedback is critical for us to train our personnel. We are extremely glad that you brought this to our attention. "

These, of course, are not isolated comments and they demonstrate the attitude of The Sliding Door Company's management toward their customers - an attitude that suggests customers can't possibly be right!  Starting there, it seems The Sliding Door Company feels it provides excellent service to customers.  After all, there are some 5-Star reviews on Yelp - so it must be true, right?  

Again, these critical comments and many more like them are available on the Complaints page.  So, what kind of business model can still work when customers aren't happy after the sale?

Literally every on-line article about businesses and their customers suggests that businesses should work hard to keep existing customers.  The Sliding Door Company has been built on a very simple business model that doesn't follow this advice.  They sell and run - that is... they treat each sale as if the customer purchased the item on sale.  No refunds, no returns, no service... all sales are final... don't let the non-ADA swing door hit you on your way out.  And, since they started with residential closet doors, they didn't really count on repeat business as much as new clients.  So who needs repeat customers anyway?

Customer service isn't even a real department at The Sliding Door Company.  At the time I left, Customer Service was going to be either handled by "someone" in the Sales department or by the Operations department.  They couldn't decide which.  To assign a "manager" to Customer Service seemed like overkill to them.  

And let's face it... to TSDC, customer service just means having someone available to convince customers they must live with gaps in the doors, or blemishes on the tracks or glass that won't clean... at least until their warranty expires.

And so, they open new showrooms, and hope nobody will read (and believe) the reviews.  And of course, they have Regus as their top commercial customer who keeps them busy enough.  So who needs repeat customers?  Not The Sliding Door Company - That's for sure!   

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