When customers contact your customer service department, they are reaching out to you and offering you a chance to either create or change the way they feel about your company. Unfortunately, in all too many cases, companies believe this opportunity is simply a burden, a necessary evil of doing business. They simply divert, block and frustrate the customer. They often try to change the facts, stand on the facts or use the facts to duck the facts, so CUSTOMERS ARE NOT SATISFIED!
You or your staff needs to really listen, listen to your customers and assess the presented facts. More importantly, they have to be empowered to make decisions and immediately address the situation. If customers are calling, their belief is you or your product failed their expectations. It may be fit, shipping damage, unsatisfactory repairs or simply bad service. You need to be careful in managing these moments, as they are often emotionally charged and can be one of your best opportunities to learn where you may be failing your customers, whether in reality or in their minds. It is the single moment you could create a brand believer for their lifespan as riders.
If your customer service protocol (call center/complaints department/returns policy, etc.) is built around stall, deny, begrudge, and finally, to the few who persist, acquiesce, it might save you a small amount of money, but from the customer, side it is a total failure.
I believe that the majority of customers who seek out assistance aren’t looking to rip you off. Usually they are just seeking resolution, validation, support, and most importantly, looking for a path to feel the way they felt about your company or brand before they were let down.
This is an industry built one customer at a time, and the best measurement of your customer service is whether, after the resolution, the customer would recommend you to a friend or fellow rider. The time on the phone, money returned, or the facts of the case are absolutely irrelevant. The feelings and opinion the customer has walking away are all that matter, and changing these feelings takes a humane approach and connection with the customer, not cash.
The customer is not always right, but they are always your customers.
Tim Calhoun is the executive vice president of LeoVince USA, a dealer-direct manufacturer of exhaust systems. Its Italian parent company is the world’s largest powersports exhaust manufacturer.