Customer Service….is that a misnomer?

Many businesses have a customer service program, or at least they claim to have one…..and all businesses should.  However, if the customers are not happy when something goes wrong for them, then the business is in fact not providing customer service.

Now all such programs need policy and procedures.  They also need to training for those handling this position so that they will be effective in dealing with unhappy customers.  That means providing them with the flexibility and the power to make the decisions necessary so that the unhappy customer leaves or hangs up the phone, happy.  These “front-line” people need excellent listening skills, viable options for problem solving issues and an ability to determine what will actually make this irate person feel better about whatever happened.  Dealing with difficult people requires patience, empathy, honest, respectful assertiveness and the appropriate messaging techniques to suit whomever the customer service personnel are facing.  Difficult conversations, in these scenarios need to have win/win outcomes!

When there are really no problems and things seem to be going well, that is great and it is also easy.  The real test comes when something goes wrong….the way a business deals with this situation is the real litmus test of your customer service program and of those responding to the public.  The outcome can either lose you that person’s business, as well as anyone else they tell or  tweet to……or, you will have so “enchanted” this formerly upset person, that they will then become one of your best marketing tools; as they will laud your efforts to anyone who will listen.

PS.  You should definitely have someone monitoring tweets and facebook entries just in case the upset customer only chooses that route for complaining.  If it is noticed and dealt with from either of these media options, you can still save the situation and end up looking good!

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