Okay, so I'm reading last month's edition of. Now let me just say that I won't be 50 for another 105 days and had to check the magazine out of the library as I'm still TOO YOUNG to read AARP, but there was an article that caught my eye.
The article is about getting what you deserve – being a bully – with companies who aren't providing the best service. Wow. Seven instruction tips on how to overcome poor customer service.
What a message.
The tips are great – that's not the point. The point is, have we forgotten who writes our paychecks to such a degree that writers need to give step by step instructions on how to "get around" companies who don't stand up for their products/services?
In this age of hyper competition – the only way we CAN stand out is by offering superior customer service.
Take for example the writer's story of a salesperson who has talked a customer into less than quality tires. When the husband sees the new tires, he asks that they be replaced and the manager says "That's not our policy." So the husband leaves the store, staples $20 bills to competitor ads and returns to the manager and calmly says – if you don't do what's right, I'll give these adds to each of your customers standing here in the store and offer to pay them $20 to go some where else:
I didn't complain in typical "customer" fashion, explaining how I felt betrayed or that I'd really been looking forward to my new tires. Mitch was prepared for that-armed with his "It's our policy" line. Instead, I caught him off-guard with a simple business proposition. He could exchange the tires on my car, which would cost him nothing but labor, or he could lose several times the value of the tires in business when I persuaded other customers to go across the street. Rather than pleading with him to treat me nicely or fairly, I gave him the opportunity to make a "wise" business decision. Predictably, Mitch made the choice that was best for his business's bottom line.
We've all heard that a dissatisfied customer will rarely tell us so that we can fix the problem but will tell 5, 7, 9 of their closest friends. Here is a situation where the customer asks for the store to make it right and yet the management refuses.
So I ask you – do your front line people have the ability to "make it right" with dissatisfied customers or do you stand behind the "It's Our Policy" sign refusing to bend?
Do you have a policy for handling upset customers? Being forewarned is forearmed – check out this article to see what tips are being offered readers of AARP to circumvent poor customer service and then ask yourself – would a customer have to go to these lengths in my business?
Deborah Chaddock Brown
Professional Writer, Champion of Superior Customer Service