In both situations there was a point where the company - or the representative of the company - could have turned a negative into a positive. And in both situations I had someone who was 'sorry-averse', and who allowed their own ego to get in the way of a great customer experience.
Now, I honestly don't think that either of the representatives for the 2 companies got up that morning and said "Right, what can I do today to make a customer hate the company I work for?" Honestly, I don't think that was their aim at all.
What happened in both cases though led me to wonder - how much does this person actually hate the company they work for? You see, I believe that when someone loves what they do, is confident that what they do is the best that they can do, and is genuinely interested in giving a customer a great experience, then what you get is a company representative who wants to give the customer the best experience they can have.
The learning for me is this:
- Say sorry - genuinely and authentically. It doesn't cost you anything and can gain you a customer who responds positively and feels cared about.
- Find ways to tell bad news to a customer so that they understand the news and don't simply end up annoyed by the interaction.
- Listen to your customer.
- Be human with your customer - laugh with them, interact with them, be kind to them.
- Ask what you can do to put the matter right for them - you'll be surprised how little it takes to turn an unhappy customer into a positive one.
- Consider the words you use - if you deliver customer service, remember you are saying to your customer that you serve them. If you offer customer care then you are saying to your customer that you care about them. Make sure what you offer is more than mere words.
What did you learn from your last nightmare experience with a large company? I'd love to hear from you about what you took from the experience.