Can your employees turn a customer service complaint from a global company into a major account? Today I talked with one of our star performers who has done just that.
Her first point of contact with this company came eight years ago when one of their employees called us with a complaint. She answered the phone, took ownership of the complaint, and has, over the years turned what was once an occasional transaction between our two companies into an ongoing productive relationship that touches more than a few departments in their company. (Insert "win-win" cliché here.) Now, through business upturns and downturns, the relationship continues to prosper for both companies. How did this happen? Let me count the ways:
1. We hired the right person. T. Scott Gross talks about hiring service naturals, people who have the competencies that enhance relationships with customers and others.
2. She´s experienced. She´s been fortunate to have good and very good supervisors who encouraged her and provided her with opportunities as opposed to bad supervisors who run off people.
3. She´s a professional. She knows how to interact with her customers and her co-workers. She keeps her word.
4. She´s willing to try new ideas. Over the years we added new services and changed the way we do things. Right now we´re in a merger, but like the Everyready Bunny, she keeps on learning, changing, and producing.
5. She "gets" relationship management. This means she´s patient, yet continually seizes opportunities to further our relationship. This company was badly hurt by September 11 and the resulting economic downturn so she modified her goals and moved forward.
6. She´s a hard worker. Persistent. Goal-oriented. Can create and execute a plan.
7. She has a sense of humor and she´s not afraid to use it. When appropriate.
8. She´s a team player. "Lone Rangers" are not successful at managing major accounts. She encourages other members of her office to interact with the customer, but she stays in the loop and keeps an eye on not only the "big picture" but where she wants the relationship to go.
Bottom line: to paraphrase Dale Carnegie, "she has the ability to get the job done." We now have a very profitable relationship because this one person answered the telephone and turned a complaint into an opportunity. Then she followed through. Then she followed through again"?¦
Talk in terms of the other person´s interests.