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.
Listening to the words customers use can help you better communicate with the customer on their level.
One example, are customers that use phrases like “I wish someone would just stop and listen to me”. Try using a response like ” I can hear what your saying.” This is an example of a customer that best communicates and responds utilizing audible expressions.
Another example are customers that use phrases like “No one can see what I am going through.” Try using a response like ” I can in-vision what is happening to you.” This is an example of a customer that best communicates and responds using visual expressions.
Matching the context in which a customer is speaking to you helps a customer feel at ease and builds a connection with the customer.