August 27, 2018
Let Customer Service Make You A Hero
I recently found myself dealing with an issue that none of my staff was involved in but it “technically” fell into my department. As I worked to piece everything together I felt like a police detective trying to solve a crime by questioning uncooperative witnesses. I spent six months on this before we came to a resolution. More than once during this time I thought what the hell am I taking my time away from my job to fight this fight. The thing was that even though I had nothing to do with this it had to be fixed and I had to do it.
I often have new business owners tell me their value proposition is great customer service. I firmly believe that high quality customer services is expected. Saying that you have great customer service isn’t enough to get you business but bad service will certainly lose you business. The competition is to strong for anyone to take a “not my problem” position. Customers just want their problem fixed and they don’t care who fixes it.
To help you as you deal with challenging service requests in your business here are five things to keep in mind.
Understand It Is Your Problem ~ There is nothing worse that getting passed from person to person and no one solving the problem. It makes it look like you, and your company, doesn’t care. Like in my situation you may have had nothing to do with the issue but since you picked up the phone the problem is yours.
Own the Problem ~ Make some calls, send some emails, find a solution. I recently received an email from a person that had been run around all over the organization for the past three months and was no closer to resolution than she was when she started. That can’t happen. We had resolution within an hour. Why? Because we took ownership of the problem and made it our mission to take care of the customer and make sure she got the right answer.
Grasp the Big Picture ~ You can think micro and take an “it’s not my issue to address” approach or you can think macro and realize that it is everyone in the company’s job to address the needs of the customer. By looking at the broader picture you will see how your actions can have a positive impact on the customer and the company.
Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood ~ Yep, habit five straight out of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. It is easy for your mind to start spinning thinking about what to say next before you really understand the problem but you have to resist that urge. By really listening you will be able to form better recommendations than if you rush forward.
Propose Alternatives That Might Help ~ There will be times when you can’t satisfy the customer. Their requested action might be unreasonable or they may be just plain wrong but you can still try to help. If you have a good understanding of the situation you can offer alternatives that may work for the customer.
The bottom line is simple, the customer is looking for resolution of their problem. They expect you to step up and provide a solution. You need to be their hero and solve their problem. It’s important to them, the company and you.