Monday, August 10, 2009

That Stinks? Your word

Three quick facts about making a mistake:

~ You're bound to do it.

~ It can cost you a customer.

~ Most people don't handle it well.

Disappointing a customer stinks - fortunately the solution does too.

S - Shut up. When a customer begins to complain, shut up and listen. They need to vent. You need to understand what has them upset. To accomplish both, shut up.

T - Take ownership. Your fault, someone in shipping's fault, the customer's fault - it doesn't matter. Once the customer hands you the problem, make it yours.

I - Investigate the problem. Your customer wants to know they're getting more than lip service. And, you want to avoid having to do this again, don't you?

N - Never offer an excuse. It doesn't matter why it happened - it just matters that it happened. Once the situation is defused, then you can offer an explanation, but never an excuse.

K - Keep your word. If you say you're going to call them back that afternoon, do it. If you say you're going to mail them some coupons or pick up the tab for dinner - do it.

S - Say you are sorry. Use those exact words. "I'm sorry this happened." "I'm sorry we kept you waiting." The customer wants to hear that you feel badly - they do and they do not want to feel it all by themselves!

I can see you shaking your head at me and saying "well duh." But you know's not a duh. Otherwise, more companies would actually handle problems this way.

So print this off and post it somewhere your employees can see it. Better yet, go over it at the next quarterly meeting. Then walk the talk by demonstrating how it works next time you make a mistake.

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