Those who know me well know that I’m a huge fan of the value of good customer service. The lack of which is becoming painfully obvious at many businesses today, with economic pressures not allowing for requisite training of staff and low motivation levels. The result is a slew of unhappy and dissatisfied customers who are ready to switch.
Just a couple of days ago, I had to go pick up a bunch of pizzas from a local Seattle chain. Unfortunately, when I got there a little after the appointed time, I was told that they hadn’t even started making them. With several teenage kids (my daughter was having friends over) waiting for pizzas to arrive quickly, the pressure was on. Waited longer still and still no pizza while other customers came to the store and went. At this point, I was ready to throttle someone and go flame the company on Yelp and Facebook. However, I was able to connect with the district manager for the store, who immediately called me and quickly offered to refund the entire bill. Further, the store manager was profusely apologetic and just more than made up for the lack of service earlier in the evening. So much so that a potentially apoplectic customer was quickly converted to an ambassador. Since that evening, I’ve told at least a dozen people about my experience.
Simple lessons to be learnt here.
- Things go wrong – you can’t avoid them completely. But you can change how you as a business deal with bad customer situations
- Knowing how a customer is feeling at the point of service is critical
- Timeliness of this knowledge is even more critical. It would have been too late if they reached out to me the next day or based on some random survey later on
- Ability to address the customer situation instantly can make the difference between pissed-off customer and an evangelist.
You need to KNOW what your customer feels in real-time and then ACT on it immediately. That’s the future of customer engagement.