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Empower Your Customer Service Staff

During my recent conversation with my friend Mike Miller of PRIMO Solutions, we got to talking about the frustration so many customers feel when they’re communicating with a company, specifically when they have a complaint. In most cases, the employee they’re talking to, a low man on the totem pole, can’t do much beyond reading from the script they’ve been handled and passing the complaint up that totem pole to someone who can do something about the problem.

This takes time, ties up resources and generally ends with a more frustrated customer than before.

While Mike and I were talking, he brought up pizza. I love pizza. But having it delivered adds a new layer of room for error. You know the situation: Some hapless delivery driver shows up 30 minutes late with a pizza with the wrong toppings. And you’re not just annoyed…you’re hangry (that’s hungry and angry combined).

A delivery driver who can do more than stand at the front door and fumble out an apology for something that isn’t even directly their fault looks sloppy and unprofessional — and doesn’t help move the situation forward at all.

Mike brought up a national pizza chain — the name of which I can’t remember, which is a shame because I’d like to order all my pizza from them! — that gives all its delivery drivers the power to correct issues that come about during their route (within reason).

This means free pizzas for dissatisfied customers, expedited reorders and more. Imagine that: If you had a cold pizza or incorrect order show up at your door, wouldn’t it soothe the sting that much more to interact with someone right away who could compensate you for your trouble?

This idea doesn’t just work for pizza.

What could you empower your customer service staff to do for your customers? Before you give instructions to blanket transfer customers away when there’s a problem, consider giving them responsibility to make people happy, whether it’s on the line or on the floor.

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