Here we are……again………
Why, oh why is CUSTOMER SERVICE such an issue? I often wonder about this as I travel about my day. At stores, the gas station, at my company…..how do we improve upon it. I steal ideas from everywhere. Customer service isn’t dead; I think it’s just sleeping. UNTIL today. Today sent me over the edge. I was told “ma’am, I’m sorry, you slipped through the cracks”.
Let that sink in. How would it make you feel if a company you spend A LOT of money with tells you “you slipped through the cracks”. Maybe it affects me in such a horrific way because I used to teach high school and any child slipping through the cracks was just NOT ACCEPTABLE. Maybe it’s because it sounds very similar to “OOPSIE we FORGOT about you”. Maybe because, well, how does that happen in a multi million dollar corporation? And finally, in 2014 WHO TELLS ANYONE “you slipped through the cracks”? I found the company. I experienced it today. AND I AM NOT HAPPY.
The “supervisor” didn’t understand how to help me. She read her script….you know the script, the fake apology, the lines about nonsense that doesn’t address the issue. Yeah, I had that read to me….over and over again. Finally, exasperated, I said, “Do you know what I need right now?” And to her credit she said no. I said let’s take it back to Customer Service 101. It’s a simple list really. I can’t believe you, being the supervisor and all, don’t teach your staff these very simple rules:
1) LISTEN to the customer. Don’t interject your opinion. You don’t really have to SAY anything. JUST LISTEN.
2) UNDERSTAND where the customer is coming from. Really put yourself in their shoes. Not hard to do if the problem really exists (and most of the time there really is an issue)
3) APOLOGIZE like you mean it. Empathize – you know – it’s easy “If that happened to me I’d be furious too”
4) BE HONEST. Don’t lie to cover up the issue. It will come back to bite you. If you screw up OWN IT. No one gets mad at that.
5) FIX IT! FIX IT! FIX IT! Give the customer of plan of action. This is how it’s going to get fixed and here is the plan. Go above and beyond here. Ideas are easy: Call the CUSTOMER back to make sure the job is getting done. GIVE them something free and unexpected. HELP them get to the next level. SHOW UP EARLY or PERFORM the task EARLIER than expected. There are a million things you can do to help make the customer feel better. Even a KIND word will go far.
Bottom line is, most people just want to be heard. They are frustrated and need to vent. If you let them, you will win a customer for life. Remember, they are more than likely not mad at YOU but at a situation. Take the “personal” out and fix it for them if you can. If you can’t……LISTEN. It does wonders. I wish the lady I had on the phone today would have listened. It would have been much more enjoyable for both of us.