Thursday, October 13, 2005

The customer ain't always right.

Extraordinary customer service is crucial, but let's face it: sometimes a customer is full of crap. We've all seen a shrill harridan demeaning a trembling soul at the register, or a dyspeptic lout demanding the physically impossible. In cases like that don't be afraid to stand up for your employee.

CMO has a great read on FedEx and Southwest's employee-focused strategies. Happy workers make happy customers. And happy shareholders. Southwest President Colleen Barrett shares her philosophy:
"If we practice the Golden Rule every day, then employees feel good about what they're doing. They're apt to smile more and be warmer. If that happens often enough and passengers feel that proactive customer service, then they, in turn, are happy and come back more," Barrett explains.

And here's FedEx's attitude:
...FedEx's primary means of engaging employees is by encouraging what the express delivery service calls "Discretionary Effort." That means encouraging employees to use their own judgment during tricky customer-relations issues. "We encourage them to do what they think is correct," explains (Bob) Bennett. "If they have an unhappy customer and they need to send them flowers, they can. We had one courier who had a flat tire. Fifteen minutes later, he rented a cab [and delivered the package]. We didn't question it."

Your employees will be associated with your organization a lot longer than that poltroon who abused them last week. Don't be afraid at times to fire the awful customer and pat your employee on the back.

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Blogger Olivier Blanchard said...


8:50 PM  

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