Saturday, June 30, 2012

Customer service

A few weeks ago I published a quote by Zig Ziglar about complaining customers.

Zig had said (or written): "Statistics suggest that when customers complain, business owners and managers ought to get excited about it. The complaining customer represents a huge opportunity for more business." ~ Zig Ziglar (1926 - )

Receipt of a complaint is an opportunity to serve. And often that complaint is just the tip of the iceberg. Some surveys indicate that for each person who complains, there might be 10-15 others who feel the same way. Or more...

Think about it. When you get good service at a business, how many people do you tell? Anyone? Two? Three?

But when you get rotten service somewhere, how many do you tell? Many! And you keep on telling people about what happened, even years after the moment of rotten service.

When I worked at the Sears, Roebuck headquarters (1997-2002), one of my jobs was handling customer complaints that made it through all the filters to the desk of a senior executive. When I say "senior executive", I mean somebody up on B-6, in what I referred to as the "nosebleed" section. 

Now, don't misunderstand. I was glad that I got to meet those senior executives and to know them on a first-name basis. They were human beings, struggling with a tough job. And they cared. When they found out that I actually liked handling customer complaints, they would send them to me and ask me to handle them personally; i.e., not farm them out to a customer service rep in an off-site call center.

When I called a disgruntled customer, my goal was to satisfy him (or her) and retain him as a customer. And I never had to "give away the store" to do that.

It was extremely important to respond to dissatisfied customers and not just blow them off. 

The long-time motto at Sears was "Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back". Every employee should have had to enter the front door at the Hoffman Estates headquarters and repeat that motto three times aloud before proceeding to his or her desk. Might that have saved Sears? Who knows?

1 comment:

Ray said...

Might that have saved Sears ... ummm nope. It wasn't customer service that killed Sears ... it was a little company you might have heard of called Walmart.

Or it could have been that you left the company and it couldn't survive without you...

could be ...