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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Customer Service Guru Returns from Hiatus

Hello All! 

How was your spring?  My spring took unexpected twists and turns, which imposed a hiatus of sorts.  But I am back, and I am full of stories in my quest for Adventures in Customer Service.

This round has the Guru bragging about great customer service. 

The Scenario:  Wayyyyy back in March, I dropped off a few items of clothing at a new dry cleaner, Dry Cleaning for Less.   I went to the new place, as most customer do, because of an advertisement in the mail promoting a decrease of cost from the other dry cleaners I have tried near my house.  I am by no means loyal; I am ready to jump the boat for a better value or perceived better experience.  I believe most customers are like me in this regard.

I was told the three items would be ready in three days.  No problem, as I was leaving the city for an extended time in one week.   I returned in three days, and none of my items were ready.  I was told to return the next day.  So I did, and two of the three items were ready.  The owner realized my last item had been misplaced in the traffic of the store.   He knew what happened, what the piece was, but he did not have the shirt.  He greatly apologized and asked me to return the next day.

What is poor in this situation were not the individuals that was I was dealing with, they were all pleasant and genuinely sorry, but they were not getting it right.  They did not have my shirt, the only reason I am transacting with them in the first place.

When they did not have my shirt when I returned the final day, I explained that I was leaving for over a month and did not need the shirt, but I did not want it given away either per the typical dry cleaner’s policy of purging unclaimed items in 30 days.  They assured me this would not happen.

I leave and return over a month later.  I deal with another employee, tell her my long story, and within ten minutes she has found my shirt, apologized once again, and gave me two free cleanings for my inconvenience without any prompting from me.  I love this place!

The Solution:

This illustrates why it is paramount not to be just empathetic, caring, and pleasant with your customers.  You also need to deliver whatever your business is promising, be it a service or a product, the Be Right of the CSG phrase.

What the last employee did was right on target with service recovery.  She felt empowered to do something extra to make me a loyal customer.  She did not ask anyone if she could do it, she just did.  That is something to cherish in an employee.

Tips to apply this in your organization:

1.   Ensure your employees have the tools they need to Be Right.  Are your policies and procedures written to help or hinder their efforts to deliver your business’ promise?

2.   Empower employees to go beyond the extra, “I do apologize,” (Major pet peeve of mine, but that is for another blog. J) and DO SOMETHING to make it better.  It can be big or small, but do something.  Loyalty is a precious thing from a customer.  It guarantees future revenue and growth.

Until next time, be good to yourselves and your customers.

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