It’s all about communication

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-communication-concept-image29214163As some readers of this blog know, I have been dealing with an issue with H&R Block on behalf of a family member. I believe that it is important to acknowledge their efforts when an organization responds to an issue that is put in front of them.

Yesterday, I received a response from H&R Block that they are dealing with this issue. What they have put forward satisfies me for the moment. They have had someone with knowledge about the type of issue that my stepmother is facing (due to their error) look into this and they are taking steps to correct it. I was told that my stepmother should receive the refund that she is entitled to (and has been trying to get for the last year) in two to three months. I appreciate that they have taken this issue seriously and are working to resolve it. I will keep you posted on what happens next.

What I want to focus on in today’s blog post is the communications aspect of my interaction with H&R Block.

As a person with an issue, here is what I did to get results:

  • I was polite. (I said please and thank you; I did not use profanity.)
  • I did not get personal. (My issue is with H&R Block, not with any one person.)
  • I outlined my expectations, and they were not unreasonable.
  • I followed up. (I was the polite squeaky wheel.)
  • I did some research and included people in senior positions in the organization in the e-mail conversation.
  • When I felt that my issue was not receiving the consideration it deserved, I reached out via social media (this blog, Twitter and Facebook) to share my frustration and engaged the support of others.
  • I let the person who was communicating with me know that I appreciated the efforts they told me they are now taking.
  • And I will continue to follow up. This is not over until my stepmother has the refund cheque from the government in her hands.

Good customer service is a key element of operational excellence and brand reputation. In my opinion, customer service should be a priority for every organization. If you drop the ball here, it can turn into something quite costly in the long run.

And if you messed up, say you are sorry. I have dealt with issues and crisis with clients where the legal team and I have had incredibly loud discussions about this. I understand the challenges around “legal” responsibility, but if you made a mistake, acknowledge it, explain why it happened and what you will change so it will never happen again. As human beings, we want to forgive – but we won’t do that unless you apologize and take responsibility. (Which – I have to say – H&R Block has not done yet. I am waiting for them to get to this stage of our discussion.)

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