How to Handle a Customer Service Problem

Yes. We all love hearing that word. Your customers love hearing it too, especially when you are handling a customer service problem. A good friend was at the Greenbrier Resort for a special trip for their wedding anniversary. When he made his reservation he had mentioned it was his anniversary and that he would like a room with a beautiful mountain view.

When they arrived at the room, he was underwhelmed with view and mentioned it to the bellhop. She suggested he go down to talk to the concierge desk.

He went down to the concierge and he told them he had a problem. The concierge smiled and said, “No matter what your question is, the answer is YES!” That caught him off guard. He was not prepared for that one! “Can you repeat that please?” Again the concierge smiled and said, “No matter what your question is, the answer is YES!”

briefly explained the situation and the answer WAS yes! They were moved to a room with an amazing view. At dinner that night the manager brought them a bottle of champagne and wished them a happy anniversary. Wow! That is an amazing customer experience for them AND he said he has retold that story dozens of times over the past couple years.

I don’t know if that bellhop called the concierge desk to alert them but I doubt it. That must be SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for that concierge and likely everyone on their staff when dealing with a customer service problem. I believe one of the best customer service strategies this:

Seek opportunities to go the EXTRA-MILE and create a memory!

The staff at the Greenbrier executed this strategy perfectly and it paid off. What do you do when there is a “issue” with a customer? Instead of looking at is as a problem, look at it as an opportunity to blow them away.

Imagine if they were unable to move rooms. Likely the only thing he would have remembered about the trip was he did not get the room he requested. I’ve done something like that. Have you? Instead, the answer was YES and they left singing the praises of the resort for years and have returned.

Maybe you cannot say yes to everything in your business model. You could say, “I am sorry we dropped the ball on that one. What could we do to solve this and keep you as a Raving Fan?”

I have a book on the shelf called Turned On, by Roger Dow and Susan Cook. They describe research the Marriott did to identify which guests intended to stay at the Marriott again. They divided guest stays into 3 groups A, B, and C.

  • =Nothing bad happened during their stay.
  • =Something bad happened, but Marriott fixed the problem.
  • =Something bad happened, but Marriott did not fix the problem.

The percentage of these three groups that intended to return to the Marriott were as follows:

  • =89%
  • =94%
  • =69%

That is very compelling research that the guests were even more loyal when something bad happened, if Marriott fixed the problem.

Are you seeking opportunities to go the extra-mile when “problems” come up?
Are you willing to spend a few dollars to create a lasting memory? Analyze your SOP when “problems” arise.


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