a) Outstanding customer service goes a long way to ensure customer loyalty.
b) The manner in which you resolve an issue is remembered far longer than the original problem.
I have spent the month of June traveling across the country. I have been to Milwaukee, Omaha, Detroit, Toledo, Mobile, Pensacola, Orange Beach and most recently Charlotte. In that time I have encountered a variety of folks in customer service who were representatives of Tradebank barter clients and non barter clients. Some of the customer service reps were outstanding credits to their company and role models for every organization. Some were so awful that their attitude and approach undermined any goodwill the company wanted to achieve. How is your company’s customer service? What attitude and approach does your staff have when dealing with customers—not what you THINK they have, but what happens on a daily basis person to person? Have you done any mystery shopping of your own company? What training do you provide in customer service? Do you train how to fix rather than escalate a problem?
AirTran’s entire staff (phone, gate, crew) always distinguish themselves with their excellent customer service. Whenever I fly, which is quite often, I choose AirTran. They have earned my respect and loyalty; my only wish is that they were Tradebank clients.
Another excellent example of outstanding customer service is what our group recently experienced with Tradebank client the Hampton Inn & Suites in Pineville, North Carolina. I knew from our previous stays there that the entire staff of the Hampton Inn of Pineville understands their guest’s needs and go out of their way to make you feel valued and welcome. When I commented to their front desk that their attitude is most appreciated and extraordinary, the reply was, “No, it’s nothing special, it’s just what we do.”
In major contrast, I had two recent experiences with non Tradebank clients which provoked me to tell everyone I knew TO NEVER do business with these companies again. I will refrain from broadcasting their company name over the Internet, but trust me I would like to. One was a local optometrist/optician and the other was a national car rental agency located at the Pensacola airport. Neither was a Tradebank Barter client. Without going into the details of the circumstances, suffice to say the problems ensued because of their own staff errors. Everyone makes mistakes. However, neither company would listen as I explained the problem and expected resolution. Instead they wanted to quote company policy that was not even relevant to the circumstances. They followed “the book” rather than listening to the customer.
Here is my simple list of Dos and Don’ts in working with customers…
- Really listen to the customer
- Find out what their real concerns are—rather than jumping to conclusions about what you think
- Find what resolution they are seeking—not what they may be asking, but what they want to accomplish
- Tell them what you CAN do for them
- Don’t lecture the customer on what they did wrong or should have done
- Don’t quote company policy until after you have resolved the issue
- Don’t have people who speak with strong foreign accents in your customer service department handling phone calls. Not being able to understand the person you’re speaking with only increases frustration.
- Don’t keep callers on hold for long periods of time or make them transfer from person to person. It only adds fuel to the caller’s frustration.
Again, everyone makes mistakes, but how you resolve the issue goes a long way in keeping loyal happy customers. Tradebank has clients who specialize in customer service training and will accept Tradebank Dollars as payment. Remember excellent customer service keeps customers coming back!
by Marcy S. Yaffe, VP of Trade, Tradebank International-www.tradebank.com