May 8, 2013 1 Comment
So you’re a frequent customer to a local business and stop by for your favorite product or service only to have an absolutely horrible experience. Will you automatically stop patronizing? This is a fear to many business owners. Will customers with poor experiences ever come back? To a customer, it isn’t just that one experience that changes their outlook for your company, but the many other decisions which follow afterwards.
I’d like to take a little bit of a different approach to this tutorial by placing this information into the perspective of the customer. Many times it is somewhat difficult for business owners to have the perspective of their customers, so I’m approaching it from the standpoint of the patron to give you the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of how your customers feel.
My approach is of a recent horrible experience which I experienced at a local automotive repair center that will appropriately cover all of the bases of poor customer service when responding to bad situations.
#1 – Listen
On this occasion, I took my vehicle in for a diagnostic scan to further diagnose an issue with my engine running lean. Upon reaching the service desk for check-in, I kindly informed the technician about recently taking my car in for a computer scan and I was only interested in having the diagnostic done to further evaluate the issue.
When they called my name to pay the bill, low and behold, I was charged for a computer scan for the handsome some of $148! My frustration could have easily been avoided if the technician had only listened to what I had to say.
How to fix this issue? Encourage employees to repeat back the pertinent information a customer conveys. This not only clarifies their understanding of what the customer says to them, but also reassures the customer you are listening.
#2 – Identify the Situation
Once arriving at the service desk, I made suggestive remarks about the situation. I, like so many patrons, feel uncomfortable about directly confronting the situation. I am much more inclined to take my rant onto a computer as I chat away on review sites.
How to fix this issue? Encourage employees to address any concerns they feel the customer may have. Clue employees into the gestures and facial expressions customers have when they are unhappy about something and instruct them to ask each customer about their experience at checkout.
#3 – Don’t Pass the Buck
I would have felt much better about the situation if the technician would have not attempted to ‘hide’ the fact that he just hooked it up to the portable scanning machine, but he insisted on referring to it as a diagnostic test. After, I corrected him, he then said, “It doesn’t matter. Your issue is in the exhaust that isn’t something we do.” Not only did I feel as though I was being belittled, but I also felt as though he just wanted the close out the conversation to get me out the door.
How to fix this issue? Encourage employees to go above and beyond the call of duty when a patron expresses concerns. In this situation, a second look or an acknowledgment of my concerns would have helped. Offering to look up the information for where I needed to go would have been an appropriate gesture.
#4 – Respond
I immediately went home after my ordeal to write a long letter to corporate about my experience, along with some suggestions on ways to better handle situations. I have yet to hear a response. Failing to hear even one word in response back from this company, left me feeling like all my years of loyalty and thousands of dollars spent never mattered.
How to fix this issue? Never leave a message unanswered. Whether you agree with the claim or not, always address the customers attempt to reach out to you. If they have the desire to make contact with your business, even after a bad ordeal, it shows there is a williness to give you another chance.
It was at this point, my relationship with this businesses ended. It’s not this one experience that ended it, but the lack of experiences I should have been afforded after. It is always understandable that a business has a poor day, an employee is unhappy or something just didn’t turn out the way it should have. These situations are forgivable. What matters even more is your response and the ways in which you represent yourself in the days and weeks after.
Author Bio: Amanda Stein is a writer for Just Colleges, the complete online college portal.