Leaders, Can You Ace This Customer Service Recovery Moment?
by Kate Nasser |
Leaders and teams strive for excellence in customer service to deliver a super customer experience. There is truly no best — only continuous improvement.
So I often ask my clients who lead customer experience functions — can you and your teams ace customer service recovery? It’s in that difficult moment that the customers see your company values, intentions, and character. It is the critical time to show customers you care about them and achieve success with and through them.
Image by Torbakhopper via Creative Commons License.
One Moment Where Many Stumble Needlessly
High level leaders, mid-level managers, and customer facing reps all falter needlessly in customer service recovery when they confuse reassuring the customer with defending their organization.
At the moment customers are telling you how your organization has failed them, any statement you make praising your usual quality of service puts customers in the shadow of your insecurity. This is not the time to talk about how great you normally deliver. You didn’t.
- Admit the fault straight out and you give the customer admission to a new celebration of trust. “We fell short and we can do much better for you.” This clearly shows the customers you care about them. You will falter with: “We usually give higher quality service”. The customers think: So what? Your response is self-centered. It asks the customers to listen to your organizational analysis instead of shining the light on their importance.
- Do not highlight the wonderful abilities of reps who delivered bad service. Leaders, managers, and supervisors experience emotional discomfort when customers criticize their reps’ behaviors. As a result, they stumble in customer service recovery as they outline the outstanding abilities of the reps. This does not reassure a customer. It questions the customer’s perception and judgment! It also sheds doubt on your judgment and standard of care.
I have witnessed so many leaders, on the fast track of excellent service recovery, make a detour at the last minute with praise of the agent’s ability. During service recovery, stay focused on the customer — not your reps, nor your organization, nor yourself. If you want to highlight the outstanding abilities of team members, tell the team members during coaching not the customers during service recovery.
- Highlight your standard of excellence and show it to them. When your organization has failed customers, apologize and reinforce that the care they received is nowhere near good enough. Then show them the high standards in action. This is distinctly different than explaining how you normally do better. The first delivers the goods now; the second waffles in the past.
During service recovery, any focus you place on your organization’s past or usual behavior reinforces the bad image that the service failure created. It will always seem defensive regardless of the tone of voice. It highlights your insecurity and unwillingness to see the truth of the moment.
See the customers’ current emotional and service needs and deliver. You re-secure the trust and leave proof and a lasting memory of your standard of customer care. Actions make caring words come to life.
Action: Run some role plays in your organization once a week and you will build the psychological conditioning to handle every these situations in the moment with ease and excellence. I am hear to help you as I have done with so many.
What customer service recovery blunders have you experienced when you were the customer? Please add your stories to our learning.
From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™
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Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.