September 17, 2003

Customer atonement

I attended a seminar recently on customer service and picked up a few tidbits that I thought were interesting and/or useful. Maybe you'll have a use for some of these:
Studies show that satisfied customers tell five to seven people about their good experience, while dissatisfied customers tell fifteen to twenty!

Customer interaction is doubly important with first-time customers. For a new customer waiting to talk to you, a five minute wait can seem like two hours! Note to self: Next Sunday when I'm having a friendly conversation with a church member and notice a visitor is waiting to talk to me, the body would be better served if I excused myself to meet the visitor. A perception is forming in that person's mind. "Does he care about me?"

A "mystery shopper" can help leaders determine the quality of their customer service. If I could get a friend that nobody in our church family knows to come and act like a first-time visitor, I'd probably get an accurate perspective of how loving we are to our guests
I found most useful the following "Four Step Recovery Process," for use when you've really screwed up with somebody:
1. Apology with Empathy. Take responsibility for the problem. If the customer is unsatisfied, it's your fault whether you did something wrong or not!

2. Urgent Reinstatement. Do something to make it right, right now!

3. Symbolic Atonement. Do something special for the customer; make a special effort to serve them. (Interesting choice of words, "atonement.")

4. Follow-up. Pursue the customer to find out how he's feeling, and how his perceptions have changed, after a week, month, or longer. Show them that you haven't forgotten.
Is this approach to corporate for you, or can you see some biblical principles behind the corp-speak?

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