Tuesday, November 28, 2017

How to Recover

(1:05) We've all been in that position when things go wrong. It might have been as a consumer or as a business or, most likely, you've been in both situations. My most recent one was with Subaru.

(0:59) A brand new car with an electric window stuck in the down position and the nearest service center an hour and a half away. We ultimately worked it out, but my initial interaction with customer service was beyond disappointing.

(0:53) It is never about something going wrong, we all know that will eventually happen. It is how you recover and even win a customer for life.

(0:49) I ran across an article in Forbes by Micah Solomon, who stated, "Every company needs a customer service recovery framework, a sequence of best practices for interacting with, and turning around, upset customers. ... in the heat of the moment, with so much emotion flying around, it’s hard for even the most seasoned and even-tempered customer service professionals to do their best–unless preparations have been made and a structure put in place ahead of time."

(0:36) I couldn't agree more. My Subaru customer service rep became flustered when I refused to accept the response, "There's nothing more I can do." The rest of the call went poorly.

(0:31) What can you do to prepare your staff to handle that inevitable unhappy customer?

(0:29) Micah Solomon suggests the acronym AWARE:

Acknowledge: Acknowledge the situation and apologize sincerely.
Widen: Learn more about the situation by probing for what the customer is specifically upset about; encourage and assist the customer in explaining what’s gone wrong from the customer’s point.
Agree: Spell out the agreed-upon solution to your customer, as you understand it. Commit to exactly what you will do to resolve the issue, and by when.
Resolve: Take care of the issue as promised. Follow up with the customer to ensure all is well.
Evaluate: Examine the error with an eye toward identifying systemic issues and chokepoints. Strive to learn from the error and, where appropriate, make it a part of staff training and systems.
(0:08) You can read Micah's full article on the Forbes website here: 
Thanks A Latte: How To Fix A Customer Service Failure, Per Starbucks, Marriott And Me

(0:06) Having a plan in place, along with staff training can turn a customer disaster into a success story. Don't leave your success to chance.

(0:02) And that's the marina minute.