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Customer Service Prescription Be Calm During Adversity

At times customers get angry. They shout and yell because they have been genuinely hurt by something that has been done or not been done. This is a time when a good customer Service Professional does not argue or interrupt. He is cool calm and serene a picture of composure as he actively listens to the customer and tries his best to understand his concerns and then solve them.

Companies make mistakes sometimes despite the best intentions. This makes a customer mad and in several instances he loses his composure and even resorts to foul and abusive language. A customer who is hurt or upset needs to be pacified. At times like these a customer service professional who keeps his cool is an invaluable asset.

He must first accept the fact that the company has made a grave error and then patiently listen while the customer pours out his woes and purges himself of all the negative feelings. It does not help to retaliate start arguing or yelling back at the customer.

A tremendous amount of maturity is needed on the part of the Customer service Professional if he is going to put into practice my patient customer Service prescription.

A senior corporate executive once had the mortifying Brand experience of leading his American clients into a restaurant where he had a confirmed table reservation only to be told that his name was not on the reservations list.

The incident which took place in Delhi was very embarrassing to say the least. The Executive knew that his secretary had made the reservation. He even knew that it was confirmed. Yet here was this restaurant manager telling him that his name was not on the reservations list and that he could take a walk with his guests. Understandably the executive got very angry and minced no words when he expressed his disgust with the restaurant manager. What ensured was a verbal duel with insults flying to and fro.

Instead of accepting that they had erred the restaurant manager insisted that it wasn’t his mistake. This is bad customer service. No matter who has fault it would have been prudent for the restaurant manager to tackle the situation sensitively.

More so when a few Minutes later his junior colleague realized the restaurant blunder. Though the senior executive had made the reservation through some oversight his name was omitted from the reservations list and that he could have given the customer the benefit of doubt while he checked meticulously with the management.

His behaviour led to the loss of a customer and also loss of face the executive walked out never to return for that restaurant hospitality.

In another case the sales manager of a world class Bangalore based hotel succeeded in making the chief Executive Officer of a large corporation switch from his regular hotel. So triumphant was he with his coup which was the outcome of months and months of wooing the customer that he forgot the cardinal rule of patience.

On the second day of his stay an unfortunate incident occurred. While the customer was in the bath the hotel’s water supply got cut off. Caught as he was soap in his eyes and the deadline of an important meeting staring him in the face he struggled to restore some semblance of respectability wiping himself dry and getting into his clothes before hastening down to the lobby to confront the hotel manager.

If the hotel manager had admitted the mistake and placated his customers there may have been a different story to tell.

Surely he did not expect the chief Executive Officer to demand a compensatory bath for the one that had been so rudely interrupted surely he did not expect the chief executive officer to be cool in the face of the disruption of his schedule of an important day.

Unfortunately the hotel manager dismissed the incident with a casual these things happen sometimes and brought that the matter would be closed.

It wasn’t. the chief executive officer marched off never to return and the insensitive hotel manager was left to moan and groan over the loss of a client that he had so assiduously wooed. It is no wonder then that the hotel manager has long since been relived from his post and is no longer in the hospitality industry.

When standard chartered bank decided to shift premises from Andheri to Santacruz in the western suburbs of Mumbai it caused a lot of heartburn for many clients.

One client in particular who had opened an account with the bank because the branch was nearby was very upset. But the bank manager in this case the customer Service professional was very sensitive to his customer needs. He patiently explained the need for the shift (“a more centralized location”) and said that he would like this customer to continue to bank with StanChart (“because the bank did not want to lose them as their customers”).He visited the office and offered an exclusive pick-up and delivery service so as not to inconvenience them if they continued to bank with him. The fact that he come across personally and took time to patiently explain the reasons for moving and then even tried his best to solve the problems that ensured with the shift went down very well with the customer. The pleasant Brand Experience made them want to continue with the bank.

As they say today, “We still bank with Standard Chartered. The physical distance may have increased but emotionally the bank has come closer”. Patience Pays.

Copyright © 2005, All rights reserved with Jagdeep Kapoor – Managing Director, Samsika Marketing Consultants Pvt. Ltd.
No part of this document may be modified, reproduced, stored, deleted or introduced in any retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means (Electronic, Mechanical, Photocopying, Recording or Otherwise), without the prior written permission of the copyright owner of the document.
The author is Jagdeep Kapoor, Brand Guru and Managing Director of the successful Samsika Marketing Consultancy.
Tel: (022) 28477700/7701 (022) 28470214/15 Fax:022 28477699
E-mail : jkapoor@samsika.com