Customer Service Breakdowns Are Everywhere
It seems that there are no shortages of service breakdowns in today’s world. You would think that in the down economy where so many people are unemployed or hurting financially, that service providers would think before doing or saying something that could have a negative impact on them. But then you would be wrong in many instances based on my recent experiences. On two separate back-to-back business trips where I went to facilitate training workshops in several different geographic areas, I encountered at least a half dozen service providers in situations that I term “being stupid in a no-stupid zone.”
By that I mean that had they just taken a second to think before acting (or failing to act) related to serving their customers, they would not have needed to try to provide a service recovery strategy that might salvage their mistake. What was happening in each of my encounters is really not as important as the fact that on any given day in virtually any type of organization, there is a service provider who is improperly trained, has a poor service attitude or is inhibited from providing good service because they do not have adequate supervisory or organizational support. The result is that customers are disappointed and go away and ultimately negative word-of-mouth publicity follows an organization suffers.
If you are a service provider, I suggest using the acronym “STAR” to remind yourself of a way to provide positive customer service so that you do not fall into the dreaded “stupid zone.” Simply stated, that means:
(1) Stop to listen to what your customer is saying or asking;
(2)Think about what your customer said they need or want and the best way to address their issue or request;
(3) Analyze options for providing stellar customer service in that particular situation rather than taking a cookie-cutter approach to providing the same treatment to all customers; and
(4) Reflect on how you handled the situation after the customer has left in order to determine if you did the best possible job or how you might handle it differently in the future if a similar situation arises.
Customer service is not difficult if you approach it with a positive mental outlook and a plan to handle the unexpected.
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