Big Picture - August 2017 - 12
business + management
Why your shop should have a superb customer service policy in place.
| by Marty McGhie
ecently, I had a rather negative experience with
a customer service representative from a
popular hotel chain. The hotel dropped the ball
on a reservation I had made for a late arrival of
one of our employees. Then, after canceling the
reservation and not allowing him to stay at the hotel, they
went ahead and charged my credit card anyway, saying I
canceled the reservation by my employee not showing up
on time. As I attempted to sort this out, I was told by the
customer service rep there was really nothing more she
could do. So, I requested to speak with the hotel manager. I
was informed that he was out of the country and they had no
idea when he would return, and that it didn't really matter
because he would just tell me the same thing. Even after I
expressed that this is a hotel my business partners and I
utilize on a very regular basis, she didn't really seem to care.
I was stunned. It was a maddening experience that left a
very sour taste in my mouth and effectively made me decide
never to return to that hotel. Luckily, I was able to dispute
the charge with my credit card company, but this hotel chain
lost both revenue and a valuable customer.
Lest you believe that the sharing of this experience is
only serving as my "venting therapy" (although it has helped),
there is a point. All of us have stories like this that cause us
to shake our heads and wonder how some businesses can
miss the boat so far with regard to customer service.
Likewise, we've all had wonderful experiences with customer
service reps who have gone above and beyond in helping
remedy a problem. This experience caused me to reflect on
my own business and the level of customer service that we
TACKLING THE PROBLEM
Maybe we should begin by asking what defines excellent
customer service. Being nice and polite to your customers
in person, on the phone, and even via email is certainly
important. But if you're being nice, yet not really taking care
of your customer's problem, there's a high likelihood this will
be a negative experience for your client regardless of how
politely they're treated, leading to an unsatisfied or even angry
customer. So, how do we deliver great customer service?
At times, we can make the quest for excellent customer
service more complicated than it needs to be. In reality, all
we need to do is ask ourselves, "Am I taking care of the
problem?" That's the fundamental basis of great customer
service: taking care of people's problems, no matter what
they are. When things go wrong, emotions typically run
high. As a result, what your customer really wants to hear is
that you're going to take care of the situation. Once they
know you're committed to doing that, the subsequent
MARTY MCGHIE is VP finance/operations of Ferrari Color, a digital
imaging center in Salt Lake City, San Francisco, and Sacramento.
He is a partner and director of Signs.com. You can find him on
provide. I invite you to do the same by asking yourself the
following question: "Does my company regularly provide
excellent customer service to my clients?"