Customer service realism
There are times when we’ve all complained about something and been given what we know is the run around. Sometimes it’s an overly technical response, while at other times we may get such a vague response to a question that we’re left confused as to what we asked for in the first place. Perhaps it’s because an angry or disappointed customer’s response to an honest answer can be scary or litigious, these “non-answers”, if you will, are becoming more common.
These aren’t great examples of customer service, but they are very realistic, and, when not happening directly to us, can be somewhat humorous.
Photographer Excuses collects the best
At Photographer Excuses, GegenWind Photography has collated common responses to customer complaints about their pictures.
“The [special motive] was just not in focus enough so I edited the picture in selective color.”
“Oh, but now it looks like the Instagram filters!”
“This is just how the industry works now.”
And my personal favorite:
“I don’t do refunds, but I’m fully prepared to re-shoot the entire wedding.”
Again, funny, when not happening directly to us. And they’re not only for the photographer. Regardless of our profession, we’ve all got stock phrases we use to try to pacify a situation, or for some of our less motivated colleagues, take the lazy way out of making a situation right.
Employee-first approach wins
Former Southwest Airlines CEO Herb Kelleher was notorious about defining where the limits were he, and by extension the company, would go to in an attempt to mollify or retain an unhappy customer. When asked if he thought customers were always right, he angrily replied, “No, they are not…the customer is sometimes wrong. We don’t carry those sort of customers. We write to them and say, Fly somebody else. Don’t abuse our people.’”
And he was right. Research has shown that companies who adopt an “employees first” approach actually see an increase in customer satisfaction, employee engagement, and productivity.
Sometimes, it’s as simple as educating the customer on the realities of the situation, the absurdity of their request (always politely, of course), or the policies that constrain you from acting any further.
Sincerity and patience
In many cases, treating your customers like human beings is all they really want when they feel aggrieved. An honest attempt at listening to both what they say and any verbal or non-verbal expressions of how they feel, a sincere apology, and an attempt to make things as right as they can be go a long way in restoring some of the trust that has been broken.
I encourage you to take a look around at Photographer Excuses to see how many other examples of “servicing the customer” sound familiar to you so we can focus on taking better care of our employees and customers this year.