This Month's Featured Programs:
Service with a Smile
-Setting clear expectations for service excellence
-Review and coaching exercises to ensure levels are met
-Measurement and accountability
-Creating a team with ownership thinking towards service
-Keeping the consistency through "real" situations
Lynn designs programs specific to her client’s needs. She has developed 300 modules over her last 15 years as a training consultant. Modules can be combined or added to any program to create the ideal session for your company.
Keep the Customer’s Reason for Calling Top of Mind…Listen!
The personal experience I am writing about hopefully will serve as a training message for anyone in customer service. The message is clear. The customer only cares about what has happened to them. Please read and as you do put yourself in the customer’s shoes.
I have 2 rentals in Arizona and had set up Cox cable service with both. (Who hasn’t had a challenge with a cable company?) The errors on the part of Cox were so numerous they became comical.
• The mailing addresses were mixed up in spite of very specific directions to come to our home
• My bill made by a bill payer account and deducted from my account was not credited
• They billed me for services I did not order
• Accounts were mixed up
So in an attempt to correct the errors, be credited for my payment and receive statements to the address I requested, I made my call. At the same time I planned to cancel the services for these seasonal accounts.
You guessed it! No one department could handle any one issue. To make this concise I spent an hour and was sent to 4 departments. The most classic and disturbing one was accounting who first wanted to know what state I was in, and then said I needed to make a copy of my statement showing I had indeed paid and drive my car to a local Cox store to show them proof and then…they would credit me. Now that’s service extraordinaire!!!
The best of all and what prompted me to write this as a newsletter was my last contact-SALES! Now this is the department that should be best equipped in diplomacy, courtesy and skills. An hour had gone by and I had been tossed around like and old towel by this point, so I will admit I had an edge to my voice. So I explained to the gentleman that he was my 4th contact and I had invested an hour of my time for Cox errors! He asked my name, apologized and proceeded to try and help. What he failed to do is listen to me! All he tried to do is SELL me! Instead of helping me to shut off my service he tried to convert me to a seasonal package and continued to ask me qualifying questions. Anyone coming to my classes will remember me talk about the value of qualifying questions-not however when you have a customer who is clearly frustrated and has endured an hour of run around.
In addition I explained it made no economic sense to keep services on any plan when no one would occupy the houses for 6 months.
Listening! The key to both sales and service.
Here’s where it gets good! I then said.” I’ve been on trying to take care of my issues with Cox for over an hour and I have a doctor’s appointment in 15 minutes.” His reply was…and he repeated this 3 times “you’ve only been talking to me for 9 minutes.” In my opinion 9 minutes is more than ample in itself, much less the other hour that I had been transferred to other departments trying to correct errors that I had not created. Clearly he had been told to sell.
Folks, service always trumps sales! Never jeopardize future business for the immediate sale. Relationship is paramount. In total exasperation I said…just cancel my service. He continued to try and tell me about his 9 minutes and I hung up.
So…the story does end in a nicer note. I then having no other choice, after my doctor appointment, drove 22 miles to the nearest Cox store with my checking statement proving I had paid my $147.25 bill. I was helped by a delightful young man who straightened out my 2 accounts and did in fact cancel my service.
He gave me his card and said “Come back here anytime, we’ll help you out!” And in fact that’s just where I will go. NO more getting lost in the phone maze.
So here are the learning points: (If you are a manager and using this as a training tool ask your team how this situation should have been handled?)
• Always listen to the customer’s reason’s
• Demonstrate empathy
• Do not try to sell or upsell when timing is wrong
• If at all possible help the customer yourself as opposed to transferring them to multiple departments
• Try to do it right the first time!
• And…thank the customer for their business and patience.Especially if they have had to wait or be transferred.
Great service will always create solid sales!
send me your success stories
Do you have a customer service experience, sales success story, leadership learning example that you would like to share?
If so please send your information to me with your permission for me to share it in my newsletter. I will credit you or it can be anonymous, please stipulate.
Send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let other readers benefit from your examples via my newsletter.
get your our own custom program
Contact Lynn at 360-319-6776 to schedule your custom designed program.