5 Ways to Avoid Pissing Off a Customer
Everyone wants good customer service. It’s one of the distinguishing factors in business these days. Organizations that have staff that treat the customer well are considered great brands. These days there really aren’t many differences in product in America. You may be out in front if you develop something new, but eventually the market will catch up to you. But having the best customer service can create lifelong customers and give your company a market edge that others can’t touch.
I say all that because this weekend my two sons and I traveled about 500 miles by car to a family wedding. It was nearly perfect weekend. Except a little problem I had with a credit card at the hotel. It wasn’t my fault or the hotel staff’s fault. However, it was a problem. It seems the operating system that managed the credit cards was antiquated and not always accurate. And of course the problem had to surface for me. On this important family weekend.
Things could have really gone left but because of good customer service displayed by the front desk staff, especially the manager, everything turned out fine. The whole interaction starts with me. How I addressed the issue. Watching the tone of my voice and making sure to have an absence of emotion was critical to starting the conversation on the right foot. And at one point when things got a little testy, I took a moment to step away, go outside and take a short walk to breathe and hope for a little creativity to help me think of a solution that would work for all concerned. Kindness and mindfulness were the two tools I used to get through this situation.
It would have been for naught if the staff didn’t handle things appropriately. The reaction of the front desk staff that I dealt with showed they were trained well. Other than the one little blip when a person misstated a fact, this whole thing went well. I ended up tweeting a commendation to the corporation because I believe in giving people their due when they do things wrong and when they do them right. So let me tell you 5 things they did right to avoid having a pissed off customer.
1) You are not the target.
The front desk guest agents did not take the problem personally. They understood and responded on behalf of the company/property.
2) Express regret for the situation.
They began their response by apologizing for the problem. Although they didn’t understand the issue initially, they didn’t blow me off and try to minimize the issue.
3) Assure the customer that you are trying to help.
The problem was a computer system issue. It wasn’t easily resolved. But they were willing to work the issue and were pleasant throughout the many conversations and a couple of telephone calls. The front office manager even came into the property on her day off to try to help.
4) Don’t blame the customer.
The staff didn’t try to make the issue my fault. Point blank. These things happen and their attitude was how can we fix it and make things right.
5) Don’t be offended if they request a manager or ask for escalation of the issue.
When it became clear that the staff supporting my issue did not have the authority to make the decisions that needed to be made to try to fix the issue, they willingly passed it to their management. She immediately called me and got to work on the problem. On her day off. Talk about dedication. That’s why I commended the staff to the corporation while telling them they might want to take a peek at the property’s computer system. It might be time for an upgrade.
Although I don’t think I’ll stay at that specific property again, it’s not because of the staff, but because of that hotel’s computer system. However, I am not abandoning the brand because their people showed again that they will do everything they can to please the customer. And to me, that’s all that matters.
What matters to you in the area of good customer service?