“Motivation is what gets you started…habit keeps you going.”
~ Jim Rohn

Being able to resolve customer issues and complaints is one of the top indicators of whether a company will ultimately succeed or fail. When everything goes right with a product or service, the customer is happy and hopefully feels they received value for money.

But when a product or service fails, that is the time when the company has the opportunity to really shine. Or fall flat on its face.  It’s the difference between customers singing your praises, or telling family and friends to stay far, far away from your business.

Two perfect examples come to mind. I had a problem with the vacuum cleaner I had purchased a while ago. As it turned out, the warranty had just expired. When I took the vacuum cleaner to the store for repair, the owner noticed it was past the warranty date, and could have easily charged me for the repair. Instead he repaired it free of charge, thanked me for my business, and off I went, with a very positive feeling about my purchase.  Would I recommend him to family and friends? You bet I would. He gets my loyalty.

The other example is my recent stay in a very nice hotel. Or so I thought it was a nice hotel. It seemed for every problem, they had an excuse. The room service meal was wrong, there were no wash cloths in the bathroom, and the channel line-up for the TV system was incorrect. (I don’t know about you, but I hate having to scroll through every channel just to see what’s offered on TV). When I called to inquire about these issues, I was told they were short staffed in the kitchen, the laundry machine was broken and the hotel had just revised their TV stations, and did not have a proper channel line-up to deliver to the room. There was no apology or empathy. What? I understand things go wrong, people get sick or machines break down, but how easy would it have been for them to simply apologize and perhaps offer me something small for my inconvenience? Suffice to say, I will never recommend them to family or friends (maybe enemies, but definitely not friends).

Here are some of the top customer resolution habits every company needs to implement in order to be successful:

  • Customer service and resolution needs to be an attitude from the highest levels of the company down to the newest hire. It needs to be proactive by all employees across all departments. It is a mindset, not something you run away from. A company needs to anticipate needs.
  • Customer resolution and the customer experience are never ending. It’s a learning process that continues to grow through trial, error and experience. It should be documented as a living, breathing file that every team member can access at any time.
  • Customer resolution and service needs to be personalized. According to a study by Salesforce Research 66% of consumers say they are likely to switch brands if they are treated like a number instead of an individual.
  • Excellent customer resolution professionals have patience, excellent communication skills and a calming approach and demeanor.  They maintain a positive attitude and eye contact when dealing with people on a one to one level.
  • Customer service professionals must have the ability to handle unexpected requests and surprises in a fast paced and time sensitive environment. They must pay attention to details.

Front line personnel need to be warm and welcoming, leave a good first impression and show empathy and compassion. They know that superior customer service is a win-win situation, customer focused and mutually beneficial to everyone. They gain insights into a customers’ wishes, wants and behaviors so they can anticipate any and all needs.

A habit is a regularly repeated behavior pattern. When your company can develop these habits outlined above, you are well on your way to increased repeat business, customer loyalty, and raving customer brand ambassadors.

Have you ever stopped doing business with a company because of the way they treated you? Please leave your comments and stories below.

Paul Rutter is a customer loyalty, repeat business and customer service expert, a keynote speaker, corporate trainer and business author. He has had the unique opportunity to live with his customers and co-workers for months at a time traveling the world, and shares his experiences with land based businesses. For more information on More Than Perfect® Service, contact Paul at Paul@PaulRutterSpeaks.com, follow him on Twitter on @RealPaulRutter or visit him on Facebook/PaulRutterSpeaks.

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