If we can not resolve the problem, don’t blame the customer. The company and the representative must be able to make a compromise; being rigid really angers clients and we might as well kiss them goodbye. Set a positive tone; be flexible and keep our once hot-headed customer calm and happy.
He’s talking about service recovery here. That’s the ability to turn a customer complaint into an act that increases the customer’s loyalty to your organization.
Two thoughts come to mind.
1. Once this complaint is initiated the employee should think about a strategy to not only correct the error, but to seize the opportunity to create a Wow! in the customer’s mind by resolving the issue so well that the customer is thrown off balance in a good way.
Granted, it’s not always easy to do when the customer walks up to you and starts screaming loudly at you. But after you catch your breath and the customer calms down then you can listen with the intent to understand, not to argue. Hopefully, your organizational culture empowers you to resolve the complaint yourself. For example, several years ago, I took my wife’s car in for an oil change. What I got was an oil “drain.” When I first started the car, the oil light came on and remained on. I drove about a quarter of a mile, then pulled over and called the manager. He immediately jumped into his truck, came over, checked my dipstick and quickly added in the necessary oil. Then he gave me a coupon for a free oil change. All the time he was extremely empathetic and apologetic. (He blamed the error on a part-timer worried about his college finals.)
- Took prompt action
- Verified the complaint
- Fixed the issue
- Then rewarded me with a coupon for a free oil change next time
His actions greatly neutralized my negative feelings toward his business and changed the story I told about the incident into one where he righted the wrong, not became the villain.
2.Be proactive. If you discover there’s a problem with a customer order, don’t wait for the customer to find it. First, do what you can to fix it, then contact the customer so that she doesn’t waste time coming to your store or waiting for it to arrive in the mail. Reset her expectations. If it’s a lengthy process, continue to be proactive in keeping her informed as the issue moves forward. (“Mrs. Johnson, your order came into today, but it’s green instead of blue. We’ve contacted the vendor and they are shipping a new one overnight. It should be here day after tomorrow. As soon as it arrives, I’ll check it and notify you.”)
If you figure out a way to exceed the customer’s expectations and you are proactive in resolving the complaint, you stand a much better chance of not only resolving the issue but creating positive word of mouth about your business and brand.
I won’t complain if you follow me on Twitter. I’m txglennross
PS: Special “Happy Anniversary” to Return Customer’s Joe Rawlinson celebrating his blog’s fifth anniversary. Way to go, Joe! If you’re not a regular reader of his, check him out.