Get Comfortable Failing for Great Customer Service
Customer Service is all around us, and this being Customer Service week, it is important that we appreciate the customers we serve as they are the reason we are in business. In life, we are either servicing a customer or experiencing service from others and how this service is offered to us determines the potential for future business and interactions. Our homes included! I find the dynamics in the house between homeowner and house manager a good depiction of what customer service is with the customer in this case being the houseowner and the service provider, the house manager. And for a conducive living environment to prevail in the home, good experience is essential.
Any tension experienced between the two (2) is resolved either by terminating the relationship or seeking an alternative and mutually beneficial solution. Not so obvious about this relationship, however, is the fact that it requires a lot of patience and tolerance between the parties for it to survive for longer periods of time.
Such was the case in my house when my tolerance elasticity was stretched to a fault when I challenged my house manager to spice up the food menu. The next day, our dinner had a mix of Rice and Spaghetti for starch. Imagine that! My tribe has always been accused of mutilating food with our ‘mix everything in one pot strategy’, but this was new to me. Of course, my taste buds were nothing but confused.
Though feedback was given, I was careful not to suppress my ‘service provider’s’ creative juices. Sure enough, another interesting mix was presented the next day; and this time, of potatoes and beans mashed together. Yes! And the experiences kept coming!
I have had many confusing taste bud moments since this special request to spice up the menu was given; some have been pleasant and others not so pleasant. I have often thought about opening my own exotic restaurant thanks to this experience.
What surprises me in all this however, is the fact that even though we have had quite a number of disappointments through this experience, my house manager has not been afraid to pick up the pieces as they crumbled. Failure for her has been a point of learning, a lesson we all need to embrace.
How many of us are comfortable with negative results and feedback from our customers?
I have been on the receiving end of negative reviews by customers plenty of times and it takes a special kind of person to behave rationally during an irrational moment with irate customer. The attitude we adopt in these moments defines whether a customer will continue doing business with us or not.
Attitude is defined as the person’s mental view, regarding the way he/she thinks or feels about someone or something, and it is internally driven. The more centered one’s inner self is, the less likely a tough customer situation will escalate to unmanageable levels. Any form of failure risks shattering one’s built-up levels of inner self awareness and self-confidence, but a positive attitude towards the situation helps establish a favorable outcome.
Your inner self is the best and biggest master of adversity and the more aware you are of your capabilities and strengths, the less shaken you will be when things hit a brick wall – as is the case with a dissatisfied customer. By mastering your inner self, you are mastering failure, a process that is managed by:
- Adopting a culture that continuous experimentation – When experimentation becomes part of the business, it gives the impression that it is okay to fail which in-turn normalizes innovation and solution finding. The more we experiment and try new things, the more we find what works best for us and our customers.
- Managing your customers’ expectations from the onset – As much as we don’t like to admit it, most customers are rational human beings. When faced with a tough situation, it is important to ensure that all the facts are presented in a timely manner to allow both players in the situation come up with a reasonable compromise.
- Aligning your expertise to the customer requirements – Your expertise should convince your audience that you can deliver value. It is tempting to get into a situation that you are not qualified for for the sake of money. Don’t!
If you are not the right person for the job, can you collaborate with someone else who is?
- Giving 105% value in every situation – Exerting 105% effort in every situation means your inner critic will have little to no say in the event of failure. Most times, it is the inner critic that undermines us the most and, in some cases, much more that a customer. By making sure everything is done at 105% effort, you have the self-assurance that you did your best despite the outcome.
Your inner self has the power to crush any self-imposed beliefs that arise out of failure. Once you understand that failure is just an avenue to learn from, bouncing forth to victory is easy.
Push your inner self to handle tough situations and #standout4growth.
This article was written by Alice Ngatia, Marketing & Communications Manager, Schneider Electric East Africa.
Alice is a marketing enthusiast passionate about building brands.