This week, we’ve been talking about owning up to mistakes and solving problems. But what happens when there is no solution? Sometimes you aren’t going to be able to solve the problem. Here’s the important thing: you must make a whole-hearted ATTEMPT to solve the problem. This plays into an important part of the client service equation. And, for those times that *you know* you won’t be able to solve the problem, you need to give the client the impression that you will – at least *try* to solve the problem. This is what the client wants to see and hear to feel good about a negative experience.
Good customer service is saying: “I hear your problem. I will help. I am in charge. I will do this for you.”
Here’s an example…
I was reviewing bank charges in my checking account and I noticed that I had duplicate charge for a transaction. I called Wells Fargo bank to dispute the charge. The phone rep was incredibly helpful and diligent. She explained to me exactly what was going to happen and that she would research the charges. Within 10 days I would either see a reversal or receive a phonecall with more information.
This is a GREAT customer service experience!
Here’s the thing… my problem hasn’t even been solved yet. I’m still out $119 for the extra charge. But, I’m OK with that. I’m in a good mood and things are cool. You know why? I know she is taking charge and helping me out. She is servicing my problem. That is all that I want as a client. Knowing that she is making herself responsible for this and working to fix it makes me feel a lot better.
And what happens if there is no resolution for the problem in spite of your efforts? OR – what if you know that you cannot fix the problem. You still say: “I hear your problem. I will help. I am in charge. I will do this for you.”
Here’s an example…
You are a photographer and your client is reviewing their images. They *LOVE* everything you did but they notice one thing missing. There is NO detail shot of the cake. The cake was in a small side room and when you were taking photos of the room setup it totally slipped your mind. The bride is a little sad about this. She comes to you with her dissatisfaction. What do you do?
Ummmm… you obviously can’t reshoot the cake or go back in time. This is not a problem that you have a solution for. ZERO FIX – NADA – ZILCH. You could panic and try to defend yourself. OR – you could be proactive and take responsibility. “Oh Sarah! Oh my goodness! I need to be honest with you. I totally missed it when I was taking detail shots. BUT – let me see what I can do. I am going to see if for some chance my second shooter happened to get some shots that I don’t know about. There is a small chance that there is an image of the cake out there. I want you to know it is small because I believe she gave me all the images. But, I want to make it right. I am going to call my second shooter right now and see. Sarah – will you be around at 6pm today so that I can give you an update?”
See how that works? You may very well know that there is NO image of the cake. But, giving the client the feeling that you are actively working to help them is VERY important in having them feel serviced by you. (In this example, the photographer will go back and say there is no image and offer some consolation… possible a few prints of images at no charge… Something, anything, to make it up. But, it’s the attempt to fix the original problem that will make the favorable impression on the client. This *attempt* is much more valuable in the experience than the consolation is for the client.)
This is about being proactive, taking responsibility, and being in charge.