Friday, April 23, 2010
Thank you. Tell Me More.
Whether the relationship is customer and service provider, husband and wife, co-workers or friends, when it comes to building and maintaining relationships, one must learn to appreciate criticism. It is a skill that is very hard to master, but oh so important. Although there are many people who like to complain just for the sake of complaining, sometimes, a complaint represents an opportunity to maintain the relationship.
How many of you have experienced bad customer service? I’ll bet all of you. How many of you have said something to the offending service provider? Why? Why not? I’ll bet the reason you did say something is the same reason I am telling you to learn to appreciate complaints…because you wanted to continue the relationship.
Think about it. If you didn’t care about continuing the customer-provider relationship, you wouldn’t have bothered. I’ll relate a couple of stories to illustrate my point.
My impromptu shopping experiment
After walking around the small store for more than fifteen minutes and purposefully meeting the eyes of both of the sales staff, I finally decided to leave, sans lip gloss. After requesting the name and card of the store manager -- for the purpose of writing a complaint letter – I left. Yet, within five minutes of entering my car, I said to myself, “Why bother!”
My life would suffer no hardship if I never entered that store again in my life. I had no investment. I didn’t care. And truth be told, they probably could care less if I never entered their store either; for it was obvious from that visit, they didn’t care about my business.
Customer Service Hero
Now let’s transition to another experience. My family and I go out to dinner entirely too much. At one of our favorite family style restaurants, there is a manager who works his butt off. Whenever we are there and Mike is on duty, we see him zipping around the restaurant and because of his leadership and example, his staff work harder too. By contrast, sometimes when Mike is not there, we can tell.
Mike, my customer service hero said, “Thank you for letting me know. Tell me what happened.”
Mike knew us as regular customers. He recognized that we were customers who were looking to continue the relationship. We were not complaining just to complain. We were giving him a chance to make things right; to make improvements in his operations. We were saying, “We care enough to let you know. Do you care enough about us to have the right response?”