Thursday, September 18, 2008

Creating customer loyalty thru screw-ups

No, I don't recommend you screw something up, just read this from Skip Hyken:

Service Recovery - Love Means Never Having to Say You're

That may have been true in the 1970 movie "Love Story," but
it is definitely not true in the world of customer service
- even if your customers love you.

Just recently I've had several clients call to discuss
problems they were having with service recovery. While
their issues were somewhat complicated, the strategies we
discussed were simple and direct. Here are the seven
strategies that can help turn a touchy situation with a
customer into a confidence building Moment of Magic®.

When a customer comes to you with a problem (assume it is
on the phone, but this applies to any situation), take the
following steps:

1. Apologize for the problem. (See - you do have to say
you're sorry!) It may not be your fault, but at this time,
you represent your company. It is now your opportunity to
show how good you are.

2. Acknowledge the problem. Ask the customer to repeat the
problem, allowing them to vent. Actively listen. Ask open
ended questions to get more information.

3. Apologize again! If at this time you realize the
customer needs to be talking to someone else, do not simply
transfer him/her. The proper hand-off is to bring this
other person into the conversation so you can explain the
problem. Let the customer become part of a three-way
conversation. If you do hand off the problem, jump to
Strategy Seven.

4. At this point it is time to move into fixing the
problem. Explain how that is going to happen, and go to
work to fix it.

5. Make sure you do all of this with the right attitude.

6. Create a sense of urgency. Act as quickly as possible.

7. Stay in touch and/or circle back. Stay in touch with
the customer to let him/her know the progress that is being
made. When the problem has been resolved, follow up (even
if you handed this off to someone else) to ensure the
customer is happy and to give closure to the problem.

The strategies are simple, but the execution may not be.
Some problems may take a long time to resolve, while others
can be fixed immediately. Regardless of what the problem
is, the above strategies are the basics. The end has to
result in more than just a fixed problem. You want the
customer to say this:

"I love doing business with them. Even when there is a
problem, I can count on them."

Always remember that service recovery isn't just about
fixing a problem. It is also about the renewal of customer

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