Making Yes be the First Answer

How many times have you been in a customer service situation where the first person you spoke to couldn’t or wouldn’t resolve your problem? If you are like me, I am sure the answer is plenty. The usual reaction is to ask for a supervisor. Most of the time the supervisor will resolve the problem to your satisfaction, but in reality it’s now too late. Your impression of that company is already lowered, and you are less likely to continue as a customer if you have other options.

A few years ago, I decided to get Direct TV installed at my home since my current provider did not carry the NFL Network. The entire install process was a disaster requiring me to spend literally hours on the phone over two days with their customer service trying to resolve the issue. The first part of the process was me trying to fix the problem, but after an hour or so I had already completely soured on Direct TV. The rest of the time was spent getting it removed at no cost to me. Finally at the end of two days, I was connected to a conflict resolution department who listened to my tale of woe, confirmed what I was telling them, agreed with me and apologized. Of course, I told them it was too late and that I could never again be a customer of Direct TV. If only the first person I had spoken to had actually listened to me and really tried to resolve the problem, they would have had a customer instead of an enemy. Too many companies look at conflict resolution as a last resort to keeping a customer happy. That’s just silly. The solution is to solve the problem on the front lines before a conflict ever occurs.

Sun Tzu wrote in the Art of War, “A general that fights a hundred battles and wins a hundred battles in not a great general. The great general is one who finds a way to win without fighting a single battle.” A great customer service organization does not need a conflict resolution department since the battle never occurs. Why does it always seem to take escalation to resolve simple customer service issues? In my opinion, it’s a company culture issue. From the top on down, company management needs to create a culture of yes. Most people who work in customer service really want to help.  Their job is a lot more fun when they are dealing with happy customers. I think my number one job at BlueGrace is to create an atmosphere where yes is the answer from the first person a customer speaks to.

I am confused about the class of my freight. Can you help explain this to me? Yes I can, tell me a little about what you are shipping.

Can I have this shipment delivered on Saturday with a lift-gate to a residence? Yes you can, it may cost a bit more but sure we can get that done.

It is so much more fun saying yes. Why not make yes be your first answer?

Randy Collack, COO
Follow me @schmengieBG

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