Blog

helloCore Values
Empower Your Employees

I stopped by the cleaners to drop off a couple of suits the other day and walked into a full-blown verbal altercation between the counter attendant and a customer.

I took a seat to wait my turn to check in my suits all the while listening to the customer’s foul language and the counter attendant’s repeated attempts to get the customer to cease the verbal attacks. From what I could gather, the customer brought in a white pantsuit (worn one time) for cleaning.

Upon returning to pick up the suit, the jacket was ready for pickup, but the pants had not yet arrived. To make matters worse, the jacket was stained.

The customer had previously spoken to the business owner regarding her dissatisfaction and was told to speak with the onsite manager. The customer requested a refund because she was not satisfied and a refund for the damaged jacket.

The pants arrived during this time and were also stained. The attendant stated that she was not authorized to issue a refund. The customer stated that the owner advised her to speak with the onsite manager regarding the situation prompting the attendant to respond “I’m not the manager, I don’t know why she(the owner) told you that.” This answer resulted in more foul language from the customer and her husband.

The attendant attempted without success to reach the owner via phone for assistance. I could no longer bear to watch and asked all parties if it was ok for me to intervene. After clarifying the facts of the situation, I asked the customers to consider the position of the attendant.

They initially seemed a little puzzled. I turned to the attendant and asked if she had the authority to resolve the situation, what would she do? She stated that she would refund the customer’s money for the cleaning and speak with the owner regarding a refund for the damaged suit.

I turned back to the customer and advised them that the attendant knew what was the right thing to do, but did not have the power to follow through. I advised the attendant to not take the customer’s anger personally, as they are angry with the company, not necessarily her personally, and she represents the company.

I then advised the attendant to get with the owner to develop a resolution for the customer. We developed a reasonable timeframe for the attendant to contact the customer with the resolution. The customer agreed to this and left the premises.

I then advised the attendant to speak with the owner about creating operational options which will empower her to handle daily situations. She agreed that this is a good idea.

Empower your front-line employees to take care of the customer. Make sure they understand the options available to resolve daily situations. This creates employee confidence and customer loyalty. Both are important to the long-term success of your business.

0

read more
helloCore Values
Great Product – Poor Service

I called my cable TV company in an attempt to inquire about the cost to add the service to 2 additional rooms in my home. After explaining to the customer service rep the need to have 2 additional wall outlets installed, she stated that they (the company) do not provide cables for connecting the receiver to the wall outlet.

I repeated the need for 2 additional wall outlets for the service and she responded with the same statement. I advised her that I was not calling to get cables, but to inquire as to the cost to get 2 additional wall outlets installed.

It was as if she was on autopilot as she repeated the same answer. It seemed as though someone was in the background guiding her as there were long pauses between my request and her reply. I requested to speak with her supervisor and was quickly placed on hold.

The next person identified herself by name and asked how she could assist. I repeated my request and she inquired as to whether or not I purchased a line/wiring maintenance warranty when I opened the account as my request would be covered by this warranty. As I could not remember, I asked that she check the account to verify.

She stated that I had not, and advised that the warranty could be purchased for an additional $5.00 to $10.00 per month. I asked if she could verify exactly what the additional amount would be and was placed on hold.

Upon her return, she advised that the additional fee would be $5.00 per month. I asked if she was sure that my request would be covered by the warranty to which she replied “Yes”. She provided appointment options and the appointment time was set for an 8 am – 12 pm window on the next day.

She then recapped the call and assured me that I would receive a call from the technician when he was en route. The technician called at 8:30 the next morning to confirm the appointment. He inquired as to what type of problem I am experiencing with the service.

I explained that there are no problems with the service, but I requested the installation of 2 additional wall outlets. He explained that he is a repair technician and would have to call the dispatcher to have an installation ticket opened.

He apologized for the error and assured me that I would receive a call regarding the new ticket. I’m wondering if the installation request is truly covered by the line/wiring maintenance warranty.

While this company’s product is great, the service is questionable. The call center personnel seem confused and unclear about what they can provide. There appears to be a disconnect between departments, as the employees do not seem to understand how they impact one another across departments.

Don’t make the same mistakes as this service provider. Examine your company to make sure your employees understand the products and services. Allow them to spend time in other departments to get the “wholistic” view of the company so as to have a better understanding of how their performance impacts others.

These simple steps can assist in creating a better work environment along with assuring the long-term happiness of your customers.

By the way, I’m still waiting for the return call regarding the new ticket! Oh well…

0

read more
helloCore Values
Don’t Do This!

My wife decided to stop by the post office last Friday to mail a couple of packages for a client. It was probably around 12:30pm or so when she arrived. She stated that there were about 15 people in line, 2 post office clerks available with one of the two closings her window.

The customers understandably became agitated with the situation as it appeared that their presence was not important nor was the need to service them quickly important either. It appears that the least amount of post office clerks was available during a heavy customer traffic period.

If you think about it, most people go to the post office on their lunch break, which means that the post office clerks’ lunch breaks should not be scheduled during the most busy period of the day.

One customer became upset with the explanation of why it takes so long for an express package to be delivered. He stated that he could deliver the package himself quicker than the express mail to which the supervisor responded ” Then do it then!” Wow! If your business has fluctuating periods of customer walk-in or phone traffic, are you monitoring your busy periods to insure that your customers are not kept waiting unnecessarily? Are your customer service personnel trained properly on how to handle customer concerns? Are they familiar with your products and services? It could mean the difference between being successful/profitable or no longer in business.

Errol

www.errolallenconsulting.com

0

read more
helloCustomer Service For The Small Business Owner
Customer Service For The Small Business Owner

If you are a small business owner, it’s very important to pay attention to your customer service delivery program. After spending money for your website (search engine optimized of course), business cards, and other necessities for your particular business as well as countless hours networking, it would be a shame for all of this to go to waste due to not paying attention to customer service.

Here are a few tips:

1. Acknowledge your customer. That means if they walk into your establishment, acknowledge their presence. If they email you, respond quickly.

If they call you, answer the phone (If you’re not available, advise your customers as to when you will be available – “I am in a meeting from 1 pm to 2 pm and will return your call as quickly as possible.”). If they can reach you via your website, make sure you are able to receive a direct email advising that someone is attempting to reach you.

2. Assess what their needs/wants are by asking questions and listening.

3. Provide service professionally by:

A. Keeping your word.

B. Communicating with your customer.

C. Saying “Thank You”.

Just a few tips for you. We’ll elaborate more and provide other tips in an upcoming workshop.

Remember, customer service can make or break your business. It’s your choice!

Errol

www.errolallenconsulting.com

0

read more