An expert approach to customer service requires a well-defined process for problem resolution. Let’s look at how to start setting up such a process.
1. Start by actively â€˜â€˜harvestingâ€™â€™ complaints. Yes, harvesting: Your company should have the same policy as Don Corleone in The Godfather and insist on hearing bad news right away. The sooner you learn about the problems customers perceive with your service or product, the faster you can take corrective action, minimize bad publicity, and turn the situation into one that brings your customer (along with your customerâ€™s online and offline friends) back to your side.
Whirlpool does this with its active presence on Facebook. Southwest, Delta, and Comcast (yes, Comcast) do it by active monitoring of Twitterâ€”with varying degrees of success, depending on the solidity of the organization behind the tweet. An incredibly low tech way to do this is to stop doing the “do not reply to this email” approach in how your send your mass emails, and instead allow every email recipient to reply directly to the sender if desired, thus providing a frictionless way to give you input.
2. Once these customer concerns are received, through whatever channel they come in, your problem-resolution process needs to serve the emotional needs of your customers. This means teaching your staff to apologize and empathize immediately with the customerâ€™s version of the story, sincerely and without hesitation or equivocation, saving the idea of
â€˜â€˜right and wrongâ€™â€™ for another time.
There are more steps involved in creating a successful problem resolution process, but these are the two that are central to getting started.Â Expect things to go wrong. Then plan for this eventuality, keeping the emotional needs of your customer central.
Micah Solomon, author of â€œHigh-Tech, High-Touch Customer Serviceâ€œ,Â is the business keynote speaker, author, and customer service consultant termed by theÂ Financial PostÂ â€a new guru of customer service excellence.â€ Solomon offers speaking and consulting on customer service issues, the customer experience, and company culture â€” and how they fit into todayâ€™s marketing and technology landscape. An entrepreneur and business leader, he previously coauthored the bestselling â€œExceptional Service, Exceptional Profitâ€œ.
See Micah in action â€” including video and free resources â€” at http://www.micahsolomon.com. Or, click here for your own free chapterÂ of Micahâ€™s new book,Â High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service (AMACOM Books) and Micahâ€™s #1 bestseller, Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit: The Secrets of Building a Five-Star Customer Service Organizationâ€”â€”â€”â€”â€”â€”â€”â€”â€”â€”â€”â€”â€”â€”â€”â€”â€”â€”â€”â€“
Â© 2013 Micah Solomon.Â Portions of this post may also have appeared in Micah’s previously published work.