It’s time for a whinge!

Both customer service and word-of-mouth are so important, no matter what size your business is. And in this social media age, it’s more important than ever.

It’s been a while since I had a rant here but I’m back, in true whingeing pom style. It’s been a bad lunchtime. First, I went for a well overdue eye test at a North Sydney optometrist who shall not be named (yet), and while I expected them to try and persuade me to buy glasses from them (it makes good business sense), I did not expect them to try and claim their printer wasn’t working as an excuse for not giving me my prescription. Yes, I do fully intend to take it somewhere cheaper and I have every right to. I spend good money on handbags, not spectacles!

Now, while I could give them the benefit of the doubt because their printer might indeed be broken, I don’t buy it. They could have written it down for me, right? Would I like to come back in again tomorrow, at my inconvenience? Sure. Customer service fail.

Already in a bad mood and feeling diddled, I went to one of my favourite food court lunch places with a colleague. I’ve been getting wound up here ever since they employed someone new who is really stingy on the salad front. I’ve even been known to hang back, hoping to get the more generous server, but it never seems to work for me. I always get Scroogey McSalad and look on while my colleague gets twice as much food for the same money. Not anymore! It’s happened one too many times and I’ve decided I’m never going there again.

I’ve also come back to the office moaning about the optometrist to anyone who’ll listen (not necessarily because they want to) and my 2,500 Twitter followers. And if they continue to not give me my prescription, I will name and shame them. Watch this space.

It strikes me that in this age of social media, word-of-mouth referrals (or otherwise) are more important than ever. When I have a good experience I am just as likely to tweet it to all and sundry, and the smart companies have replied, thanking me for the shout-out. Word of mouth marketing for them and good customer service to me. Everyone’s a winner.

  • Update: I emailed them yesterday afternoon and asked for a handwritten copy. Apparently they can’t do that either but they said they’ll email it today. Watch this space!

  • Love it, Jen. Word of Mouth is especially powerful nowadays and businesses who harness it correctly are onto a winner. Create raving fans, not whinging poms! Any business not leveraging (or understanding) word of mouth marketing can check out my Boost Business With Testimonial Marketing Kit at http://www.justgowrite.com.au/Coaching.aspx#boost

  • Understand your frustration Jen, but put yourself in the shoes of the small business (the optometrist). They’ve spent valuable time with you to evaluate your needs (the new script) and now your going to take that information and shop them on price. I can understand their reluctance to hand over the script, but they should have a clear policy on this instead of being evasive and unclear with you, the customer.

    Also, why not simply get the eye test from the optometrist you intend buying your frames from?

  • I think the reason for Jen’s frustration at not being able to take her prescription anywhere she wants to is because the optometrist has been compensated for the eye test accordingly by Medicare. And possibly a private health fund/cash if they don’t bulk bill. Why should she not take her prescription elsewhere? They were being paid to *produce* a prescription, not make up the glasses.

  • Good point Erin. Didn’t take into account the Medicare rebate on eye tests. Unsure how substantial this is however.

    Personally, I have always had my eye tests at the place I intend buying frames, so have not come across this issue.

  • Jen Bishop

    Absolutely, Erin. The optometrist gets paid for the eye test so I am in no way obligated to buy their glasses, neither have I got any service out of them for free. If this were the case I’d take your point, Scott, but it isn’t.

    Pleased to report that after two emails I received the prescription by email today 🙂

  • There are plenty of small businesses that provide excellent service and deserve our custom. In the age of the internet and social media, businesses need to learn that letting a customer down could have a much greater ramifications. WOMOW (word of mouth on the web) gets around half a million people using it each month to find the best businesses and avoid the worst. And good businesses get rewarded with heaps more clients – I know of a hairdresser that gets 12-15 new clients a week based on her glowing customer reviews. I’d suggest you rate this optometrist (as a warning to others and a message to them) and use customer reviews to find your next service business!