Posts Tagged ‘customer service’
It’s not easy being a customer service rep. Wait a minute – I take that back. It’s not easy being a GOOD customer service rep. After all, what’s a rep to do when a customer is really angry, demanding, calling names and throwing things!
Yep, it happens. And, the most common response to the situation is defensiveness – on both sides. The rep points out the customer’s mistakes (“you should have”. . . “our policy is”. . . “you kept changing your order”. . .), the customer bristles with hostility and takes it out on the rep. GAME ON! The power struggle ensues, and I guarantee, it never has a happy ending.
The end result is a customer who never comes back, or one who tells not just their friends and family, but the entire world. The angry customer just advised millions of web users never to go to your place of business, and bloggers delight in chiming in with shared sympathy.
You will not win the battle with an angry customer – not in this day and age. If you still have doubts about the impact of an angry customer, just GOOGLE “angry customer service stories.”
Angry customers are taking their grievances to the web, and feel a sense of justification when they use the w.w.w. to recount their poor customer service experiences. The customer ultimately wins the power struggle and will relish in getting in “the last word.” They name names, enjoy describing their aggressive behavior (how they threw and broke things), delight in sharing their cleverness and originality in name calling, and don’t blink when it comes to typing profanity on the web (one angry guy called a rep a “f – – – ing trollop”). Yikes! Not only is the customer service rep freaked out, but the supervisor has his/her hands full in dealing with the aftermath and the uproar.
Now, is it possible to convert these angry customers into your most loyal fans and get the repeat sale? Yep. No Kidding. I do it all the time. And, you can, too. It’s easy and the ultimate “win.”
Don’t let an unhappy or angry customer get out the door! Use the Service Recovery technique to convert the angry customer into your most loyal fan. All the steps involved in Service Recovery can be found on my website and blog at www.theserviceadvisors.com.
(Verena Somer is a consultant, speaker and an author who recently wrote the book “The 11% Solution”. Visit her on Amazon.com or at her website www.theserviceadvisors.com).
Have you ever been waiting in line at, let’s just say, a fast food restaurant, and noticed that the staff seemed particularly busy? It’s something we’ve all experienced at least once in our lives, right?
Just the other day, I stopped by a fast food joint to get a cup of tea before spending an hour or two on their Wi-Fi. There were only two people ahead of me, so I figured my simple cup of tea would be an uneventful moment in the hundreds of transactions that would make up this restaurant’s day.
Boy, was I wrong!
The cashier was obviously new, and she was trying hard to manage without the help of her manager – who was rushing around trying to complete orders for the drive-thru line. The gentleman at the counter completed his order right as a group of five teenagers came in the door and took their place in line behind me. Doing what she was trained to do, the cashier smiled and kept taking orders.
Notice – I said she kept TAKING orders – not DELIVERING. It was at this moment when the “pressure cooker” started to whistle. My tea order disintegrated – going from ordinary to giving me that “squirmy” feeling one gets when you seem to be the only one who hears the warning whistle. Could someone please take this pot off the heat? It’s likely to blow at any second!
Then it blew. . .
The man who had just ordered went from Jekyll to Hyde in two seconds flat. He literally snapped his fingers twice at the cashier and yelled – holding nothing back, “Are you going to get our coffee or make us wait all day? We’re in a hurry here. Can’t you see that?!” Yikes! Since the moniker “Mr. Hyde” is already a literary icon, I think I’ll call him “Mr. Mean.”
The cashier went from happy employee to a deer facing down certain doom in the form of a pair of high-beam headlights. Another crew member came to her rescue with two cups of coffee for Mr. Mean, where he was also met with a few choice words meant to spoil his day.
After Mr. Mean walked out, I asked the cashier and her rescuer to stop for a moment. This is what I said to them, “I want to thank you for working hard to get me my order as quickly as you can! I appreciate it, and you guys are doing a great job this morning. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”
The look on the employees’ faces brightened immediately, and my tea was “on the house.”
What happened at that counter was basically reverse customer service. We talk a lot about our values – one of them being “Everyone’s a Customer.” Yes, Mr. Mean was the customer that day, but those employees were also his customer, and they didn’t deserve to have their day de-railed by such vitriole.
Mr. Mean may have felt a moment of power with his angry and insulting behavior directed at a clerk who he knew didn’t dare talk back – but he set the day straight for several of us who witnessed his meltdown. We won’t soon forget that Customer Service is a two-way street.
Think about it. The phrase says it all . . . “C-O-L-D Call.” Why would anyone want to make one – or receive one? After all, according to Mirriam Webster.com, the definition of “cold’ is: lack of the warmth of normal human emotion, friendliness, or compassion – detached, indifferent, impersonal
and lastly. . .
giving the appearance of being dead
I don’t think any of us will win friends and influence people (let alone get a new customer) using the ”cold call” approach!
I have a better idea. Why not make a “WARM Call”. For example, after a customer buys a product or receives a service from your organization or company, why not give them a call and see how they’re doing? or if you can help them in any way? That’s impressive! And, then they’ll tell all their friends to buy from you – because you really care about your customers.
Voila! FREE Advertising at it’s best! And no more chilly phone calls!
Hmmm. . . Facebook is definitely a way to attract the younger demographic who are more likely to place an order online using one of the many devices available from desk top computers to smart phones. However, there is a BUT. And, it’s a big but!
What happens when something goes wrong? Do you think you’re going to be able to solve the problem over Facebook? I can guarantee you one thing. If the problem isn’t handled correctly (and beautifully) the problem will surface on Facebook. The demographic that’s so willing to place an order on-line is also more than happy to share their experience – good and bad- via social media.
So, beware – trying to save $$ by going “all in” for social media customer service can be a minefield and easily blow up in your face.
What are your thoughts? Read more customer service tips at http://www.theserviceadvisors.com
I always recommend keeping factoids about your purchasers – slips of paper in a file folder, notes in a database, or handwritten scribbles in the margin of an invoice. Humanize your call center -build trust – create word of mouth, and increase sales by “rapping” with a client about their vacation, business conference or family reunion. It’s a very powerful and impressive tool, and the perfect technique when combined with “call backs.” Read more at www.theserviceadvisors.com/blog, or in The 11% Solution. A book all about no cost tips to get your customers to do the advertising for you!
Answer: Go the distance – and then some. If you can’t prove to the customer that you’ve done your darndest to respond to their request, (even if the outcome is negative), there could be serious repercussions.
Let me share an example. . . . A woman called me yesterday to complain that an insurance agency kept sending her mail, even tho she had called 4 times to request that they put her on the “do not mail” list. On the 4th call, she was told “we’ve done all we can do.” That response really ticked her off, and her next step was to formally complain to the Better Business Bureau.
A complaint on file with the BBB is serious stuff, so fortunately, she called me first to ask what she should do.
I first empathized, and told her that I understood her frustration at continuing to receive mail from them. Next, I asked her if she would be willing to call them one more time, and ask the agency what steps they had taken to scrub her from all their lists. If she was not convinced that they really had “done all they could do”, her next step is to advise them that they have a choice: they can try one more time to scrub her name off their lists – document – in writing- their efforts, or she will report them to the BBB. At least this gives the insurance agency a chance to “fix” the problem, and perhaps apologize and recover.
Even tho, it was too late to prevent the woman from telling her story to the neighborhood, friends, family, and literally everyone she spoke to, hopefully, this turned out well for the woman and the insurance agency. Remember, your most loyal customers come from someone who was intially upset with you, but whom has been “recovered” properly.
Happy Holidays Customer Service (video)- I just heard a great customer service story that I wanted to share with you. My friend, Bonnie, used to be a bank teller at a drive-up window. She had repeat customers that sometimes had their family pet in the car with them. When the customer would send her their deposit via a pneumatic tube, she would return their receipt – via the tube- with a dog buscuit enclosed. She actually went to Trader Joe’s and bought dog biscuits in bulk so she could connect with her customers and put a smile on their face. We’re all out there in the weather and the traffic searching for the perfect gift this holiday season- and we’re bound to have some good- (some bad) – customer service experiences. We’ll either make a “connection” and bond with the merchant, or tell the world about our not so good experience! Let’s hope, this season, we all run into a “Bonnie.” Happy Holidays Everybody!
Let your customers do the advertising for you – and increase sales via Word of Mouth Advertising! It’s FREE! Sound good? Are you ready to rev up that Word of Mouth Engine? There are 4 Gold Star customer service strategies that are guaranteed to do just that. (So you can remember them easily, I’m going to apply these techniques to a great customer service story that I ran across on the Internet):
(1) Be Helpful – the customer’s car broke down, and when he called the garage, they offered to pick it up for him. Now that’s Helpful! Gold Star #1.
(2) Update Frequently - Keep the customer informed – In this example, the garage kept the customer posted re the status, what was wrong, and how much it would cost to fix the problem. I think you’ll agree that there’s nothing worse than wondering what’s happening, or sitting by the phone all day waiting for that status call! Gold Star #2.
(3) Give a Token of Appreciation – the garage didn’t charge the customer for the tow. Wow! What an unexpected treat. That’ll be sure to create some buzz. Gold Star #3.
(4) Call Back - the Big Daddy of Delight! Several days later, the garage called the customer just to see how things were going and check to see that everything worked out OK. Gold Star #4.
This customer is now telling his story on the internet. Do you think this is worth the cost of the tow? Yep. Many times over. Follow these 4 Gold Star customer service strategies and you’re guaranteed lots of FREE Word of Mouth Advertising and increased sales! Get more NO COST tips at www.theserviceadvisors.com.
I just read an interesting factoid – Did you know that 68% of customers who discontinue relations with a company do so due to poor customer service? It is the number one reason for customers to defect from a business. Everyone has experienced poor customer service at some point and it is infuriating and frustrating, prompting some to sever ties with a company even if they have had a long-standing relationship and been previously satisfied.
I like to restate the above in terms of dollars lost – 11% of business is lost due to unhappy customers. Get out the calculator – What does that 11% mean to you? Go on . . . do the math. Scary, isn’t it. So, whether it’s 68% of your customers who leave due to poor customer service or 11% of your business lost due to unhappy customers, those are some serious numbers. And, the great part is, you can take some action NOW, and it doesn’t cost you anything. Learn how to win back an unhappy customer or just keep your customers buying again and again. Let the word of mouth engine rev. It’s FREE advertising, right? And who doesn’t like FREE? Just go to
for the 11%solution!
Why is it that so many business owners don’t realize that you can control how customers feel about your product or service? I recently spoke with an owner who was bemoaning the fact that the PROBLEM is a customer that just walks away – in silence. Never to visit you again, and you never know why. He’s been in business for 40 years and was resigned to just throwing up his hands in despair. He asked me what to do and I suggested “Call Backs”. It’s a very easy process – just call back in 2 or 3 days after the purchase to “check in” that everything is OK. Invite the customer to call you Personally at any time if there’s a problem. (I like to give out my cell phone number – I’ve done this for years and no one has ever called me!) People will appreciate the attention and caring and buy from you again and again. This is definitely a NO COST solution that keeps your customers happy. For more tips go to http://www.theserviceadvisors.com