|Customer Service Dilemma
Or: Is reception ready to deal with problems.
By John Locke
There are occasions when a service receptionist is presented with a real dilemma. The good receptionist has a set plan to deal with all contingencies.
Professional Speaker and Trainer
John has been in training and speaking since the early 70s,
He has worked in industry, construction and commerce and
is recognized as an expert in interpersonal communication.
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Recently our fridge freezer stopped working and we called a local company whom we have used before to diagnose the problem and carry out a repair. The call was made at 8 AM and they arrived that afternoon and had the appliance working again in minutes. They were very efficient and cost effective.
The following evening we had the same problem, next morning, which was a Friday I called to report the problem and arrange for someone to come out.
I was politely told someone would be out the following Monday. I asked what we were supposed to do until then, as they were supposed to have fixed the problem. The receptionist said she did not know, but they were booked up for that day and could not get to us until Monday.
For me as a Trainer and one of my subjects being Customer Care, I immediately start to analyze the situation. As a company offering a service what would your receptionist do? Answer that question before you read on and see if you come up with the same answer.
One of the basic rules of customer care, or service, is never to use the phrase “I don’t know.” Or similar phrases like, “It’s not my department,” or, “We can’t do that.” All of these phrases have negative connotations and do not help the customer.
The main problem in this situation is that the customer has had a repair carried out that has not worked. You must therefore ask yourself, do you have a special responsibility to that customer? I would say yes.
The next question would be how do we resolve the problem? I would suggest the following would be one way to handle the situation.
The receptionist recognizes the problem and takes the customers telephone number and promises to deal with the situation and call back with an answer within the next 15 minutes. This allows the receptionist the deal with the problem without putting a negative connotation to the customer. If for some reason there is not an answer within the 15 minutes then the receptionist calls back as promised and assures the customer they are dealing with the situation and will contact them as soon as they have an answer and will keep the customer apprised of the situation.
The action behind the scenes will depend on the company, but I would suggest in this instant that the repair be carried out that day even if it means someone working overtime. Once the arrangements have been made the customer can be contacted and a time frame set.
In situations like this the reputation of the company is on the line. The company has a responsibility to the customer who has already paid for the work to be done. A bad reputation will travel faster then a good one. It would be so easy to tout this company as one who will take the money and run.
This situation is a golden opportunity for the company concerned to enhance their reputation as a company that will bend over backward to ensure good service to their customers. If they had seen fit to deal with this situation that day and if I had received an apology from the receptionist for the faulty workmanship, would the tone of this article be as it is, or would it be on how good service should be carried out?
Am I going to recommend this company? I think not.
|Copyright© by John Locke, An Englishman Abroad.|
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