A friend of mine recently catered a home party for a regular client and received a gratuity that was not as generous as in the past. As part of his regular practice he placed a follow up call to the client the next day. When asked about the service and food quality the client replied ” I didn’t want to say anything, but one of your employees was not very professional in the way he interacted with my guests. ” “He spent too much time in causal conversation and not enough time clearing dishes.”
My friend thanked the client for making him aware of the issue. He apologized and said he would pay closer attention to supervising his staff and speak to the employee about the incident to ensure it would not happen again.
A few days later in the mail my friend received a check from the client to compensate for the gratuity and a request to cater an upcoming party. The same client made recommendations to her friends regarding his catering service and he was awarded several future catering jobs.
Following up is an opportunity to turn around a bad experiences, strengthen relationships and turn customers into evangelists.
Posted in Customer Service
Tagged Angry customer, apologize, Complaints, Concerns, Customer Experience, Customer Loyalty, Customer Satisfaction, Customer Service, empathy, evangelists, Follow up, Listen, Loyalty, relationships
Ever talk to a customer and at the end of your conversation they say those words “I didn’t want to say anything, but…”
The customer feels hesitant about relaying information and it’s your job to extrapolate it. It’s so easy to brush it off and sweep it under the carpet, instead keep positive and look at this as an opportunity to turn a bad experience into a positive one. Information obtained from customers can be used to improve processes, service and relationships with customers.
It starts with customer engagement:
- Listening – Carefully listen to what the customer is saying without interruptions.
- Documenting – Take detailed notes so the customer does not have to the repeat information.
- Expressing Empathy – Be empathetic to help prevent further frustration.
- Apologizing – Say your sorry and be genuine. Focus on restoring the relationship. Let the customer know how the issue will be resolved and what will be done to ensure it does not happen again.
- Following Up – Take ownership of the issue and keep in contact with the customer on the status and when it will be resolved.
The most important part of this phrase is what comes after the but. Instead of just letting it go by the wayside, take time to stop and listen for an opportunity to learn.
I can reflect back to a book that was read to me as a child called ” The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein. To this day I think of the value it has brought to me throughout my life and am thankful for the message it has instilled upon me.
We often forget about how customers thank us everyday without saying the words thank you. So I thought to myself when interacting with customers what can be done to give the best service and experience?
- Focus your undivided attention to the customer.
- Greet customers with a smile. Whether in person or on the phone a smile can be both seen and heard.
- Recognize customers and address them by name.
- Listen to customers needs.
- Anticipate customer preferences.
- Be knowledgeable about products and services and if you don’t know an answer be diligent in finding the answer.
- Have patience. Don’t make customers feel rushed. Rushing customers can make them feel unappreciated.
- Be empowered to do what is required to satisfy a customer.
- Summarize service issues and explain how and when they will be resolved.
- Tell customers you appreciate their business.
Rewards for providing the best service may not be expressed in words such as thank you, but by simply having customers come back for more.
Each time I visit the Fifth Third Bank I would get the eerie feeling that my favorite bank representative Rossana had ESP. Wikipedia says that ESP involves reception of information not gained through the recognized physical senses, but sensed with the mind.
My experience starts by pulling up to the drive-thru window and Rossana greeting me with a smile and before I can say anything she says “Good morning Mr. Sorensen what can I do for you today?” She notices I’m listening to the radio and asks me what I am listening to. I replied some classic 80’s music. I’m depositing a check and based on passed visits she remembers my preferences of needing a copy of the check along with an account balance. She smiles and asks me if there is anything else that she can help me with today.
My next visit a week later, I’m greeted again with a smile, good morning and by name. With my radio on Rossana asks “Are you listening to some classic 80’s music?” Rossana remembered that I liked the 80’s sound which made me feel connected and sincerely interested on a personal level. I gave her a check to be deposited and Rossana mentions that Fifth Third Bank has a new type of savings account with a higher interest rate and asked if I was interested and I said yes I am, but I don’t have time today to sign up. Rossana replied “I already switched your account over their is no paperwork that needs to be completed.” She quickly gives me my deposit receipt, copy of the check, my balance and information on the new savings account all in a matter of a few minutes via the drive-thru.
Rossana not only anticipated my personal preferences of getting an account balance and copy of the check each time I visited, but also recognized that I was in a hurry and did all the paperwork in getting me a better yielding savings account. I realize now that Rossana doesn’t have ESP, but has mastered the skill of successfully anticipating customer preferences and by doing so she takes the hassle out of banking and makes it easy to do business.
Online grocer Freshdirect has instituted a “Guaranteed Fresh” mark that appears on every item it’s kitchen produces. According to their website the “Guaranteed Freshness Dates take the guesswork out of shopping so customers can make informed decisions that help plan meals, avoid waste and save money.”
Only FreshDirect offers this unique service, unlike supermarkets and other online grocers FreshDirect sources its fresh products directly from local dairies, fisheries and farms and then ships them directly to the customer.
If you are dissatisfied with any item you order contact them right away, FreshDirect will make it right with their 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.
Companies like Freshdirect that differentiates itself by providing a unique customer experience will continue to thrive against competition.
To read more about FreshDirect’s unique service click here