Thursday, March 09, 2006

Million Dollar BAD Customer Service

I was watching the Today show this morning and heard the story of a woman who was attacked by bed bugs at a pricey Catskill resort. She was suing the resort for twenty million dollars. TWENTY MILLION DOLLARS!! Yes you read that right!

What was interesting about this suit is that some of the suit was related to the fact that she had 500 bites all over her body (yes they showed pictures), but some of the suit was based on how they treated her after she complained.

She felt that they showed a blatant lack of concern for her issue. She was offered two free nights but declined the offer.

How could this resort avoided the multi-million dollar suit? I am sure that in most cases the offer of two free nights might have been sufficient for a small problem. But this was no small problem. They should have offered her compensation that was equal to the suffering.

They should have shown empathy and concern. They should have paid all medical expenses. They should have engaged her in the solution to her problem. "What would be a fair compensation?" She may not have come up with a "fair" compensation but at least they would have the beginning of a negotiation that didn't involve high priced lawyers.

They also would have avoided probably MORE than twenty million dollars of really bad publicity.

The next time you think that the problem your customer has with your product or service is no big deal or could be handled with a band aid, remember that it could turn into a multi-million dollar problem. Fix it now, fix it fast, fix it right.


dombecky said...

Laurie, your blog article reminds me of that one section in the book Snap, where he talks about physicians and lawsuits. Do you remember? He said that the lawsuits almost never had to do with the malpractice, but had everything to do with the treatment. And when there were two doctors involved. Usually the one with the "lesser of the bedside manner." Was the one that gets sued, even if the "nice doctor" was the one that was really guilty of the malpractice. Nice article, Curt

Anonymous said...

Standard psychotherapist training:

"People will forget what you do; people will forget what you say; people will never forget how you make them feel."

Empathy is the most powerful force in satisfying clients in any field. If something is important to the client, they will not hear anything we say until they hear us say that their problem is important to us as well.