“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” ~Mother Teresa
Anyone that’s worked in customer service has experienced good days (happy, pleased customers) and bad days (disappointed, upset callers). As someone who manages a customer service department, I’ve learned many things over the years…but the first and most important rule of business is kindness.
Knowing what to say—or not to say—is a big part of how anyone in customer service can defuse negativity that may get tossed your way. This requires discipline; you have to know how to listen without allowing personal feelings to affect your response.
At Markon, I always encourage my team to look for an opportunity to calm the storm by using a kind word. However, the first and possibly more important step is to be quiet and allow the customer some space to vent. Sometimes this is all the kindness they need; if you don’t quickly become defensive, the customer may purge their anger and change their approach. I remember doing this one time and the person actually apologized before I said one word.
Be kind, sincerely apologize for their frustration, and allow them to say their piece. This advice works at all levels of foodservice, and I feel, all areas of life. By keeping your tone calm and caring, you give the customer the support they need over the phone and let them know that you will do whatever it takes to help them with the situation.
Next, offer to dig into the details, address the issue with all parties involved, and respond with an action plan to move forward. Be sure to give them a date/time that you will respond with an answer…and remember to always follow through.
No company is perfect, but making lemonade when you get lemons is the way successful businesses keep their customers happy. Markon has strived to work in this cooperative manner for the past 25 years and will continue into our next 25.