Improve Customer Satisfaction Before Your Goodwill Expires

When there’s a need to improve customer satisfaction, looking at policies and procedures is a sound place to start. A great example of why this is so important comes from an acquaintance of mine.

Alice’s prepaid telephone calling card said “Expires August 31, 2001” on the back.

She decided to use the remaining value of the card at 8:00 p.m. on August 31.

Unfortunately, the card had already been terminated when she tried to make a call. There was no value remaining. She held a worthless piece of plastic.

The telephone company had terminated her phone card’s value on the very first minute of the listed expiration date (12:01 am), rather than the very last minute as Alice had expected (11:59 pm).

The company may be technically right, but commercially they are dead wrong. The company’s move did nothing to improve customer satisfaction and everything to hurt chances of developing a loyal customer.

When you see an expiration date, don’t you assume the product is valid until the end of that date? Isn’t that how your credit card works? Isn’t that how a food expiration date works? Isn’t that how your telephone calling card should work, too?

Key Learning Point To Improve Customer Satisfaction

When setting policies and procedures, make every effort to see the world from your customer’s point of view. Make their view, your view to improve customer satisfaction.

Action Steps To Improve Customer Satisfaction

Carefully review all recent customer complaints. Look for cases where customers complain that your policies are too narrow, your processes too slow or your procedures too bureaucratic.

Revisit the source of these complaints. Is there another way to see the situation? Do your customers have a point you should consider? Start making changes to improve customer satisfaction. Keep on improving until their views and your views are aligned. This should help improve satisfaction and might even boost loyalty.


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Copyright, Ron Kaufman. Used with permission. Ron Kaufman is the world’s leading educator and motivator for upgrading customer service and uplifting service culture. He is author of the bestselling “Uplifting Service” books and founder of Uplifting Service. To enjoy more customer service training and service culture articles, visit

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