The Customer Experience: How To Wow Your Customers (PART 10)
TRANSCRIPT: Alright, part four, how to respond to issues when you fail or when your customer is unreasonable? See, it’s important to understand in an issue, if you have an issue it means you failed. Customer service issues happen only for two reasons. One, your customer is being totally unreasonable; or two, and this is most often, you fail.
Now you must solve it, you must solve their issue because according to Understanding Customers, a book by Ruby Newell-Legner, it takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience with the customer. You’ve got to resolve it or you are going to have to … Even if the customer stays with you, it’s going to take 12 great experiences for them to get over it.
“Steve, what if it’s too late and we fail?” Customers will complain and we know that. Now a whole bunch won’t complain, but sometimes their issues are legitimate and sometimes their issues are not. See, legitimacy doesn’t matter to them, they are not always right but they are always the customer. What do we do now? We failed, what are we supposed to do? Just solve it. Let’s be clear. Solve their issue, but solve it efficiently. Efficiency matters. Delighting is not necessary here. See, you just have to solve the issue, you don’t have to blow them away.
According to Harvard Business Review, delighting customers doesn’t build loyalty, reducing their effort, the work that they have to do to get their problem solved. That does build loyalty. See, you don’t have to blow them away. You would think customers would be more loyal to brands that go above and beyond. No. Harvard Business Review research shows that exceeding expectations during service interactions when we screwed up makes customers only marginally more loyal than simply meeting their needs, so best not work to go overboard, let’s just solve their issue.
In fact when it comes to service, companies create loyal customers primarily by helping them solve their problems quickly and easily, not by blowing them away. What exactly does make it easy mean? Simply put it means remove the obstacles. Remember, focus on convenience, number three, focus on convenience. Let’s remove the obstacles and let them solve some of these issues on their own.
See, customers resent having to contact the company repeatedly to get an issue resolved. They don’t like being transferred, they don’t want to repeat information and they want to stick to the first channel that they use. They want to stick to one channel. For instance, they resent having to call after trying to solve a problem through your website.
Either make your websites better at solving problems or just put your phone number on your website and say, “When you’ve got an issue, call us.” When we are serving the customer, this is called reactive customer service, and we have a customer service issue. When we are forced to provide customer service after the fact, that’s reactive customer service, it’s not customer service, its reactive customer service.
We need to remember a few things. Number one, we need to remember our goal, we need to know what our goal is whatever that might be. Our goal is to solve the issue, that’s our goal, and that’s what we are going to do. Number two, we need to understand this is not a problem, it’s an opportunity. Number three, we need to understand that it’s nothing personal even if it gets personal, even if the mad customer on the other end of the line starts screaming at us and calling us names it’s not personal, they are mad about issues and they’re the ones with the issues.
Plus we need to assume a few things when dealing with an issue. This will make you one of the best customer service agents ever if you’ll just do, remember these three things in dealing with an issue. One, imagine that there are multiple TV cameras focused on you right now, and your words and actions are going to be talked about on CNN tonight and forever. The person with an issue on the other end of the line, even though they are being unreasonable, they are an orphan.
See, if you can assume those things, if you treat things that way, then you are going to be able to solve more issues. Can I diffuse the issue? If you can solve the issue, do so, but don’t preach or teach the customer any lessons here, especially if they are long. See, you want to kill them with kindness. Now I know a lot of you say, “See, I don’t understand,” I hear people say, “Tell me, kindness, what’s that mean?” It means that the angrier they get, the nicer you get; the louder they get, the quieter you get. The more words they use, the fewer words you use, kill them with kindness.
See, only you can make yourself feel small, they don’t have that control over you, so don’t give them that control. Only escalate the real issues. We want to solve what we can solve, but we want to escalate only the real issues. By the way, let’s stop with the escalations in our business. Your manager should be watching this, the owner should be watching this, the CEOs. See, good leaders allow their subordinates to escalate issues, but great leaders don’t see many escalated issues because they empowered their frontline folks to solve issues.
“Okay, great, Steve, I’m in, so how do I empower my frontline folks?” Let me teach you something that I’ve done in the past and I taught this to a service manager in the auto industry recently, and six months later I called them and I said, “How is it going?” He says, “I haven’t had an issue in six months.” He had all of his service advisors constantly transferring people with issues up to him.
Why were they doing that? It’s because he solved all the issues. He would handle the customer, he’d go back and forth, he’d do all the stuff, but it was a problem because it was keeping him from doing his job. Here is the one simple step that he used that I taught him and that I’ve used in the past, and that I want you to use to eliminate all these issues and power your team to actually solve problems.
That really is simple, and it’s just this, announce this to your team. “If your customer’s minor issue makes it all the way up to me, I’m going to give them everything they are asking for, I’m going to pay for it using our bonus pool. Everybody is going to make less money every time I have to solve an issue, and I’m going to solve it right away. I’m not going to ask questions, I’m not going to try to find sides, he said, she said. If your customer’s minor issue gets all the way up to me, I’m just solving it because I don’t have the time to solve your issues.”
Like I said the service manager, he said six months after he put this in place, he hadn’t had an issue come to him in six months, he had plenty of free time. That’s how you empower.