Walk up to the average South African retailer and whisper the magic words "customer service" and he'll react as though you stuffed a terminally venomous South American crotch eating spider down his shorts.
By: Chris Moerdyk
And I really don't understand why. Perhaps it's because all the self-appointed consumer crusaders and retail industry gurus make customer service sound like an act of parliament or a crime punishable by death.
It isn't a stringent set of rules and regulations. In fact, customer service is nothing more than an extremely simple way of making lots of money. No more and no less.
Yes, simple in concept but far from simple when it comes to actually getting it right.
Because you see, to really make customer service work, you have to overcome two natural human inclinations.
One is to shake the chip called 'pride' off your shoulder and the other is to let another human being get away with being wrong.
For example, a customer who has clearly got the bull by the udder, comes in to a shop fighting mad.
A typical shop assistant will immediately go to great lengths to prove to the customer that he is wrong and then, if this first stage is achieved without litigation or bloodshed, will take great pains to patronise the customer into a state of shame. With what result?
Only one. That the customer won't come back again no matter how wrong he knows he is.
On the other hand why not apply that wonderful piece of advice my older brother gave me when I got married: "Always agree with your mother-in-law."
It works with irate customers as well. Just agree with them.
OK, it means putting your natural instincts and your pride in your pocket and maybe it might look as though you're being disloyal to your company or a colleague being wrongly accused by the customer of fouling up.
So what? Do it, because it turns a protracted, time wasting and often belligerent half hour argument into one minute or less of letting off steam. Then just solve the problem.
By giving a customer who is wrong his own way? Well yes, but I don't see it that way. I rather see it as a way of getting that customer to be so pleased with himself that he won't think of shopping anywhere else except in your store. So what if he thinks he's won? The sound of his money going into the till sounds exactly the same.
Ok, there are exceptions to this rule - like having to deal with that very tiny minority of professional complainers who are out to rip you off. But they make up less than half of 1% of your customer base. So why treat the other 99.5% as though they were also con-artists? It doesn't make sense. – Bizcommunity