Customer Service “Foul” – Chance for Redemption or Failure?

Admit it, if you are in customer service or customer relations, you absolutely HATE to say the words “I’m so sorry!”

Well, if you handle yourself right, you can win the loyalty of your customer by owning up to your mistake and increase customer engagement.

A client told me the story of how her company had shipped out a package using the wrong shipping method.  It was sent collect to her customer, so the customer would have to pay the shipping charges.  My client was so sorry and embarrassed and promised that it would never happen again.  She didn’t know why the mistake had been made because their processes didn’t allow for much deviation.

The next order came in from that customer and, guess what?….. the same thing happened again.  My client was mortified.  She immediately contacted the customer when she became aware of the situation.  She told me that her apology to the customer was as follows….

“Linda, I am so sorry that I have to tell you this.  Your second package shipped out today, but unfortunately it went out collect again.  I’ve contacted the shipping department supervisor and we’ve identified that it was a training issue and we have taken steps to retrain that individual and have built in a double check to that process.  This is not the way we do business.  We pride ourselves on delivering a quality product on time to our customer using the shipping method they specify.  I know this looks bad for us.  This is  the second time we’ve made the same mistake in as many orders.  I truly hope you believe the sincerity of my apology and understand that we truly value your business.” ….. then she held her breath.

Linda said “Well, at least we found out right away so the order isn’t being held at the carrier this time.  I really appreciate you letting me know as soon as you became aware of the situation and that you are taking steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again.  If it were any other company, I’d probably write you off.  I can tell by the fact that you are following up so quickly and you sound truly sorry that I know this won’t happen again.  I’m not happy, but I’ll be happy to give you another chance.  If you blow that one, then I may have to walk away.”

My client, Catherine, said “Linda, if I personally have to, I will drive it all the way out to California myself to be sure you are happy!”
They both had a good chuckle over it, but Catherine knows that she will personally babysit that next order to ensure that all goes according to plan.  Had she not called Linda immediately, she would most likely have lost that customer’s business forever.  Because she took the time to personally reach out, give her solutions to the problem, and promised to do right by her, she has won that customer’s loyalty for the next order.

To engage your team and identify even more ways to build the loyalty of your customers, you’ll want to check out this resource.  It gives you the know how to set yourself apart from your competition in the minds of your customers.  If you don’t focus on your customers, someone else will.

3 Replies to “Customer Service “Foul” – Chance for Redemption or Failure?”

  1. If your company is like most you have problems with customer service. Those problems may emanate from poor products, over-sold capabilities or legitimately bad service itself. Despite our efforts to get service right we all inevitably have problems. It makes sense to plan what to do when things look darkest.

  2. It is good that the business took responsibility for the shipping error. However, what did she do to make up for it other than apologize?

    I see this as an opportunity to further solidify a customer’s loyalty by offering her a special coupon/discount off her next order. She could have also sent her an extra little something for her time and patience.

    Going the extra little bit makes an even better customer experience. Miriam

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