Waldorf Salad

There were only 12 Faulty Towers ever made and they were all, if not completely, PC superb. The Waldorf Salad episode is no exception. An American traveller has the misfortune of staying at the hotel. Very quickly issues arise over the food and service. The way the guest complains and the response is hilarious.

There is however more than a worrying element of truth about how Basil deals with the customer feedback. I think it is fair to say that ‘outstanding’ customer service is rare, the reason you know this is you can probably remember the few times an organisation has surprised you with their response to an issue.

Culturally and individually we are not good at dealing with customer complaints. It is nearly always taken as a criticism or insult. As a result we, as consumers, nearly always never tell the service provider the truth. “how was your meal?”… Horrendous! But you answer “very nice thank you”. We have all done it. Why, because it’s too painful to complain. We may not get Basil Faulty but we are always end up feeling uncomfortable and not much happens… “I’ll let the chef know”?!

So, why must we change our attitude to customer complaints? Firstly feedback should not be seen as whinging or customers being difficult. Its actually free, yes free, valuable information for you to make your product or service even better. Your customers are a fantastic source of information who if canvasses correctly can give you insights to your product or service you had never considered. By constantly improving your offering you will be always on top of your customer experience.

How to harness the power of your customers thoughts, make your product better and strengthen the relationship with your clients. Changing the mindset may take some time but start with a framework with the following elements:

  1. Make it easy to give feedback. I’ve worked with so many organisations who tell me their clients are happy. But they have never canvassed their customers so its not valid or objective. A customer service process will enable you to objectively measure your client’s views on your product or service.
  2. Make it right. When things are flagged up, you need to fix it. Take the feedback and review it objectively. Not all client complaints are 100% legit but you should approach them as if they all are. Once you understand the issue it should be addressed so the problem does not happen again. Next speak to your customer and put right the issue to their satisfaction go further that the minimum and be grateful to them for their feedback. Good customer service converts detractors to supporters for nearly no money!
  3. Measure it. How good is your customer service? The only way to know is by measurement. And the only way to improve it is by benchmarking your current level and setting a target for the future. You can then see what effect your customer service initiatives are having.

Happy customers make good businesses. They support you in the growth or your business, give you leads and stay for the long term. Countless organisations claim to “put the customers at the heart” or are “passionate” about customer care. This is often lip service. Authentic, customer focused businesses, get regular feedback, fix problems, and are seeking to constantly improve their delivery.

To find out how your business stacks up again the best. Take our short online quiz at www.refinebd.com

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