How fast do you and your employees react when a customer has a complaint?
Case Study #1: Several weeks ago my family and I went on vacation staying at three different Holiday Inns. At the Holiday Inn in Monroe, LA we were met with loud noises outside our room after 11:00 at night, a door lock that twice required their maintenance man to let us in, and a very sluggish bathtub drain. While the staff´s customer service attitude was exemplary, it was the hotel infrastructure (and the noise) that turned us off. After I returned from the vacation, I contacted Holiday Inn through their Web-site´s customer service e-mail portal. I really didn´t expect anything other than a polite response. But within 12 hours I received an e-mail from the general manager apologizing for the experience and refunding my membership points that I had used to "pay" for the room. We had decided not to stay there again, but he shifted my attitude enough so that we´ll consider staying there as long as we´re in a quiet section of the hotel.
Case Study #2: This morning I went to my local YMCA to exercise. I try to buy a bottle of water but the vending machine eats my money. I try again. Same results. (Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice"?¦) I go over to the desk and am required to fill out a form to get a refund. About 15 minutes later, through the window of the fitness center, I see the route salesman´s truck. I find him at the vending machine and explain to him that it took my money. Without even thinking, he hands me a bottle of water, then refunds my $2.00. When I offer him a dollar to pay for the water, he waves it off apologizing for the machine. His nearly instinctive reaction changed my attitude from one of "never buying another item from that machine," to "well, when I do, I know I can get my money back if it malfunctions again."
Do you empower your employees to react as quickly as the general manager and the route salesman did? In each case they stopped negative word of mouth in its tracks. They each "saved" a customer.
Are you certain that your employees would act in a similar fashion? Don´t assume-bring the topic up for discussion.