If Something Can Go Wrong, It Will!

"The more durable your equipment is, the further away from civilization you'll be when it fails."

Murphy’s law pretty much guarantees that if you have a problem with a customer that you resolve to fix, something will also go wrong with the planned fix, adding insult to injury.

Here are some ways to help fix customer problems:

1. Listen to the problem in its entirety without interrupting.

2. If necessary, clarify the exact nature of the problem by asking questions.

3. Acknowledge the problem and show you understand it.

4. Apologize.

5. Propose a solution to the problem.

6. Give the solution a timeline.

7. Log the entire conversation, proposed action, and timeline in your CRM system (failing that, at least write it down somewhere).

8. Schedule a follow-up call to make sure the fix is to the customer’s satisfaction. (Schedule frequent benchmark calls if it’s a large project.)

9. Apologize again, and assure the customer of superior performance going forward.

10. This is the point where I also give them my cell number and tell them if they are not happy for any reason to call me personally. People like it when they think they have the owner/boss’s ear.

11. Depending on how large the problem was, you may want to offer some additional value to help smooth things over. Always offer additional value rather than discounting.

12. “Red flag” the customer to let everyone on staff know that this customer needs additional TLC. When fixing problems or responding to requests, you must always have a failsafe system to ensure that the actual requests, however simple, were carried out. Nothing damages a reputation more than a few simple promises not carried to their successful conclusion. People then start to wonder: If he can’t take care of such a little thing, how can he take care of the bigger problems I entrust him with? Never promise something you cannot deliver, however small an item it may be. Always underpromise and overdeliver.

Easy to say, harder to do.

A system to follow up on complaints will always produce superior results.

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