I'm not giving in to threats of bad reviews and ADR, sorry.
I have someone that has been using internet service bought by is former employer and now, after he has left their employ, he is upset that our customer (his former employer) has asked for service to be ceased. It almost equates to using a neighbours wifi and getting upset when they turn it off, in my opinion.
We were working with him and our customer to arrange for him to take over the line, and obviously we want that to be seamless so that there is not a gap where neither old or new customer is paying for when service was provided. This sort of thing is not that uncommon, though usually when a company takes over a previous company. He would not take over from when the existing customer stopped wanting the service, so we did not reach an agreement. Shame. Now our customer has requested a cease of the service, which we are doing - what else could we do?
What is odd is that, before even becoming a customer, he has: threatened to take us to court; said he would claw back a direct debit if he became a customer; accused us of blackmail; had someone claiming to be a solicitor call and hassle us; said he will take us to ADR; and threatened to give us bad reviews. He had me at "blackmail", to be honest - I decided that it was not good business sense to have him as a customer, sorry. It kind of went down hill from there, proving I made the right choice.
Now I have the prospect of a laughable ADR case, which should fall flat on its face as he is not even a customer, as well as bad reviews from someone who has never, in fact, had service from us (and never will). We are not making services available to him, so at this stage is not even a prospective customer. To add to the fun, on his account application he said he is a communications provider, so not even eligible for ADR even if he had become a customer.
When I say someone claiming to be a solicitor, I mean someone that is not listed on the law society web site. Later we were told he is a barrister, but oddly he is not listed as a barrister either. He claimed to be from a practice which oddly is also not listed on the law society web site. Maybe we spelt him name wrong or something. What can I say?
I know that we get a lot of customers simply because we (well, I) do have some principles and I am not afraid to stick by them. I learned about bullies the hard way and I am not going to be bullied now. Taking on a customer like this would tie up time, money, and resources we could be spending on other customers and that is not fair on them.
If this means bad reviews, it will mean a calmly written "right to reply" on whatever site he posts reviews. If it means ADR it will be discussions with the new ADR company about what exactly they are doing taking such a case. After the previous, and only, ADR case, we tightened up the contract terms and wording on our web site a lot to avoid this sort of crap. This will be an excellent test of those changes.
I am not trying to be unreasonable with anyone - we tried to sort this amicably, but once someone goes down this sort of road it really makes no sense.
If he feels he had "poor customer service" from us, then (pretty much by definition) I have to agree with him. Customer service is about perception of the customer, so no dispute from me on that - and I am happy to publicly apologise for any poor customer service, perceived or real, that he has had (as a prospective customer). I think we tried to help him, but as I say, it is all about perception. Just to be clear, that means there is not a dispute to resolve regarding customer service or a need to ask an ADR for an apology as I have just apologised.
I'm blogging this because it is stressing me - I take the business seriously and I take customer satisfaction seriously. If people think I am not doing the right thing, tell me. But I really feel one should not give in to bullies.
I do sincerely wish him good luck - I hope he manages to sort new Internet access he needs promptly. It is a shame that he has, apparently, made sure his business relies on a single ADSL line with no backup, but what can I say. Perhaps his neighbour has wifi he can use (with permission, of course).
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