Peter Cheales is a well known speaker and author in South Africa who focuses on the topic of exceptional service. For a long time now Peter has been frustrated with poor service and I think like most of us, even more so when on the receiving end. A while ago Peter launched a portal to assist the consumer community.
The site is called “Hello Peter” – www.hellopeter.com, and the intention as Peter puts it, “is simple: to increase service levels of our suppliers”. The site has been around for some 12 months, but I think it is a great service to the South African public to allow the consumer better service from the sometimes bullying corporate suppliers.
To log a report on bad service, merely register and then tell your story. If the supplier is a registered as a “Companies Who Respond” supplier they will be notified within seconds by Hello Peter and should respond – if they are half decent at customer service. The service to consumers is free, however the suppliers who are registered have to pay an annual fee of approximately R300, and an additional fee per response should they receive more than 4 reports per year. So an extra incentive for the corporations to improve their service as the less complaints they get, the less they pay Hello Peter.
The suppliers through their response have a chance at “changing lemons into lemonade”, to turn the complaint around into a positive response from the consumer, which earns them a better rating on the site.
Not all roads need to lead to litigation; it could be a service to your consumer clients to first give Hello Peter a try before going down the legal process. I know it sounds strange, but your customer will be far more receptive to your fees if they know you have offered them an alternative to pursue on their own before coming to a professional. Sure some people will have their issues resolved, but those that use your services will return time and time again. Plus, the goal really is to ensure that your customer is happy!