As we know, customer service is essential in the business world. Regardless of your industry, company, product, or service, you have a customer. They may not be average, everyday individuals but, they are customers, nonetheless.
Even large oil corporations, who likely never encounter the end user must exercise customer service. They sell their raw or refined product to distributors or governments, speaking with representatives of various entities who could purchase from a different large oil conglomerate, if they so choose.
These corporations, like any other business, must build strong, positive relationships with their customer base or risk losing crucial profits.
However, most corporations and even small businesses don’t always see it that way. They often have the attitude that another customer will come along who will tolerate their terrible customer service. While they might be right in some cases, this is no way to conduct business.
What then is a better, more sustainable approach to customer service?
People and businesses tend to struggle with this, but it’s not that difficult. The solution is rather simple: Kindness. I know this is extremely cliché, but it’s the truth. I admit, there is more to it than plastered smiles and cheery tones – that can be irritating – but at the base of customer service lies key principles we should all abide by.
This is a simple concept. If you must deal with customer issues, whether internally or externally, you need to shed the mindset that they are “out to get you”. That’s just wrong. With most customer complaints, the customer is merely frustrated and wants to know why the issue occurred and what will be done to resolve it. A few simple requests that are usually warranted by a legitimate issue.
Sometimes the customer may want some type of compensation and sometimes it may be ridiculous, but consider this common scenario:
A hotel/resort guest approaches the front desk and complains that [blank] aspect of their room was not up to par.
How can we handle this situation? Well, you could dismiss the guest, but that would likely cause them to go over your authority, then giving you a bad review. Or, we could acknowledge the complaint, send someone up with the guest to verify it (if necessary) and offer the guest appropriate compensation.
You might be thinking compensation is a drain on profits and we can’t be doing this all the time. You are correct. Essentially, you’re losing money when you comp anything for a customer. Hopefully, though, your business is run efficiently and well enough that legitimate complaints that require substantial compensation are rare. But you also need to consider what would happen if you didn’t resolve the issue (by compensation or other methods).
That customer, now with a feeling of unjust bitterness, leaves. They may then give your hotel or resort with a bad review and even submit a complaint about the employees that handled them (including you) to management. They would also advise their friends and family not to stay there who, in turn, would do the same with their friends and family. You see? You would likely end up losing more business in handling the situation poorly than you would with simple compensation.
This scenario can apply to nearly every business and organization in operation today. Every company has some type of customer base they are serving, and it would serve them well to remember this advice.
Of course, customers won’t always exemplify the understanding or willingness your team presents. Therefore, as customers, we should remember to place our best foot forward, despite frustration, when interacting with service industry employees. They are likely doing the best they are able and very few of them are out to get you. So, as employees AND as customers, please exercise patience and understanding.
After all, this is so very true in everything we do. A problem is only as big as you make it and only as terrible as it is resolved. Even the seemingly greatest issues in a customer’s eyes can be excellently and swiftly handled with the right attitude.
As our wise technician, Dave says, “It’s not the problem that determines the experience, but how you handle the problem.”
Author: B. Delamater