How Employee Recognition has a Positive Impact on Employee Wellbeing
Customer service expectations have changed dramatically over the last few years as the internet has opened up new, quicker forms of dialogue between customers and retailers. Companies need to create efficient strategies for dealing with disgruntled customers both in the short and long term. It may sound ridiculous, but with the right strategy in place, a poor customer experience can in fact be turned into an opportunity to enhance customer loyalty.
Forty years ago, if you had a bad experience in a restaurant, you complained to the waiter. Then growled to your friends and possibly, if the service was really poor, wrote the manager a stroppy letter.
A few days, or even weeks, later, you might have received an apologetic reply. Outlining the steps that were being made to ensure that a similar situation could never happen again, perhaps with a credit note for your next visit.
When something goes wrong these days, thanks to the wonders of the internet, people could be hollering their complaints to a global audience before they’ve even left the restaurant.
Good news travels fast…
It’s not all bad news though. The opportunities to show support for businesses that have offered exceptional, or even just good, service have increased. Review websites give people a very public forum to praise a service provider, and while three years ago the proliferation of these sites might have meant that relatively few people read the review, the industry has coalesced and there are now a smaller number of sites with a far longer reach.
As a result, the traditional British reticence about offering comments, positive or negative, seems to be breaking down. To give you an example, seven of the first ten restaurants near our office that are listed on Tripadvisor each have more than 150 reviews.
…bad news travels faster
The downside of this fundamental change in the national psyche is that more people are complaining, and businesses need to offer a consistently exceptional service to ensure that the positive reviews outweigh the negative ones.
When you look at some of the negative reviews on Amazon, many come from people that have either misunderstood the product that they were buying or simply expected a different colour when it arrived. The problem is that each of these negative reviews has an impact on the overall rating and, let’s be honest, most of us look at the negative reviews first.
Furious or spurious?
So do you respond effectively when something goes wrong? The simple answer is don’t ignore a problem. Engage quickly with dissatisfied customers either online or in person, treat their issues seriously and learn from what they say.
Issuing vouchers, gift cards or e-codes can be a quick way of putting a smile back on a disgruntled customer’s face, but these cannot be issued in isolation. Companies’ first priority must be to carefully consider how they manage customer service recovery, listening and understanding customer issues and then working out a way of rectifying their problem to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. Not least because if you just hand out vouchers, credit notes or free drinks without learning from the issue that caused the problem, you are likely to find yourself with a hefty compensation bill the following week. And the week after. And the week after that.
Treat the symptom and the cause:
An effective customer service recovery strategy
Making sure that the customer comes away feeling that their issue has been dealt with positively is the immediate challenge, but longer term, you need to make sure that the same issue (or a derivative of it) doesn’t crop up again.
This is an area where vouchers/gift cards/e-codes can be put to really efficient use, not just as a form of compensation for disgruntled customers, but as a staff incentive for completing sets of training courses, for attaining certain grades or even as a pat on the back for a particularly good piece of customer service. Recognise and reward those employees that display desired behaviours and exemplify your corporate values.
Problems are unavoidable; it’s how you learn from them that marks out a business that is likely to survive in the long term.