Where did all the customer service go?

In Customer Connections, Leadership Connections, Management Connections, Uncategorized by Shannon Alter0 Comments

So, where did all the customer service go? I’m afraid it’s all gone to the dogs, as the saying goes. Superior, delightful, attentive customer service, that is.  Just yesterday, I had an outstandingly difficult customer experience with a major worldwide hotel chain.  Routinely confirming my hotel reservation in advance, I discovered that my name  had been incorrectly listed (middle, last and first names switched around).  Thinking this would be an easy correction (after all, it was just a matter of reordering the names), I contacted the hotel’s rewards number. Quick, right? Not so fast! 7 (count ’em) calls later, I had been shuttled, transferred and pushed off between the chain’s rewards department and their reservations department. Every agent I spoke with had a different story of why/how the problem couldn’t be resolved.

Here’s the clincher: the 5th person I spoke with, who I’ll call Jack, was undoubtedly the rudest person I’ve spoken with in..well…ages.  When I finally asked for a supervisor, Jack informed me there were none. None?  When I pressed, he said that supervisors “aren’t available, don’t take  customer calls and you don’t understand the protocol”. Wow.

I’m not sure what the ‘protocol’ was (of course, he never said), but I knew what the real issues were: poor, inconsistent and downright bad service. Plus, non-existent service recovery.  Think about your own organization-if you want to deliver exceptional customer service to your customers and clients today, try these 3 tips to start you out:

Think about who you’ve hired:  I’ve actually tweeted this: unhappy employees = unhappy customers.  Walt Disney put it another way (and I’m paraphrasing): positive customer satisfaction is directly related to positive interaction with employees. Period. If you don’t have the right person in the right place, now is the time to reconsider. Don’t wait. It will affect your bottom line.

Don’t push people off: All too often, our customers hear “Oh, I don’t handle that, let me transfer you”.  Hopefully not to someone like our friend Jack.  It’s true, you may have to have another person or department help in resolving a problem. But the key here is to actually make sure the problem is actually resolved and the customer is satisfied.

Get everyone on the same page: What happens when our customers don’t get the same information from each person they talk to? They get irritated, sometimes. They don’t trust what we provide, certainly. If you want your customers to trust and respect your organization, give them what they came for. Take the time to make sure your team understands how to take care of your customers.

Want to see more information on how you can achieve spectacular customer service? Check out our tailor-made workshop, “Exceptional Customer Service: Lessons from the Shark Tank”.


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