Tips for a terrific customer service save

Tips for a terrific customer service save

Sometimes we mess-up. It happens. Today I want to emphasize the importance of a terrific save when mistakes occur.  I’m calling it a “customer service save” because, at Pelot & Associates, our practice focuses on the workplace. However, these tips transfer beautifully to your personal life as well.

One example:

Last week I took my daughter’s car in for some fairly extensive service. This is a place we have done business with for many years. It has always been good to deal with and we trust them.  The work would take two or three days to complete. No worries.

The next day, as I was walking into mediation, I got a text from my daughter. It was a picture of her car in an Outback parking lot… Turns out a friend of hers, who works one day a week at The Outback, saw it and inquired as to why it was there.  Within a couple of minutes, we learned three service technicians (who are lunch regulars) had arrived in her car – we even had their names.

Oh boy! So wrong, for so many reasons, and we had pictures. 

Using a customer’s car for personal use is reckless. I won’t go into all the reasons why, but be assured there was no circumstance that would make it OK for these guys to be in our car, while they were at lunch.  This was a huge customer service fail.

Once I learned repairs were complete, I called the GM.  He had to know about this. I hoped he would make sure appropriate discipline and training took place, and would somehow make us feel better – maybe even regain our trust.

The GM’s reaction was the beginning of a terrific customer service save:

As I told my story, the GM listened and stayed calm.  There was no defensiveness, deflection, or excuse put forth.  He took notes, restated what I said to make sure he had it right, and then assured what I had described was against company policy. No argument, justification or excuse.

Next he apologized and offered solutions. He assured everything would be handled internally, before I picked up the car the next morning.  Before we hung up he thanked me for sharing the information, and said it was important for him to hear it.

Everything from that point went as the GM described – even better!  I was treated with respect, and the service manager and his reps were humble and appropriately remorseful.   The following morning, the GM called again to confirm everything had gone well and I was satisfied with the repairs, as well as the results of the unpleasant situation. Finally, he thanked me again for being a customer and bringing this to his attention.

This GM, with the support of his subordinates, orchestrated a beautiful customer service save that left me feeling valued and respected. I trust the internal actions taken will ultimately have a positive impact for all involved.

Tips for A Terrific Customer Service Save:

  1. Listen and seek understanding.
    1. Resist your urge to defend, deflect, or justify.
    2. Confirm details and your understanding of what has been conveyed.
    3. Ask clarifying questions, with the sole intent of fully understanding what this person needs you to hear.
  2. Validate the other’s feelings.
    1. This may include a sincere apology and an appreciation for the other’s position.
  3. Offer the remedy, execute on it, and follow up.
    1. Speed, in determining and executing the remedy, is critical.
    2. Follow-up to confirm the conclusion was satisfactory; assure proactive measures are in place to prevent “it” from happening again; and thank them for being who they are to you.

We all mess-up sometimes. Our recovery, or lack thereof, is what builds trust or kills it. These simple customer service save tips can be your ticket to moving forward with a sense of mutual understanding, satisfaction, and trust.

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