Here’s Why “If & Then” Can Make a Big Difference to Your Customer

The other day I was sitting on the concourse with a client when a customer walked in and went up to the service area. Before long, both the customer and the service person’s voices had elevated to the point that my client got up and went to the area where this “altercation” was beginning to get stronger still. The owner quickly resolved the situation, gave the customer a hardy handshake and that was that.

Then he spoke to the young man at the desk, in a voice so low I couldn’t hear what he was saying; smiled at him and after several minutes walked towards me and sat back down on the seat to my left.

After a very pregnant pause, I asked, “What happened?” 

“Oh the usual bad communications”, he said, 

Continuing, he explained, “Customers birthday party wasn’t written in the book and service person had no knowledge of it so he couldn’t confirm the guy’s party.” Fortunately, I remembered the guy’s name and smoothed it over.”

“Well, good,” I said, “but what if you weren’t here?”

“That’s why I’m here all the time!” he said.

What’s wrong with this picture?

I broke from our stated agenda and said we were going to take a quick trip down “WRITING IT DOWN LANE” to which I got the strangest of looks. No doubt, deservedly so.

“Let’s do this,” I said, “Let’s make a list of the most common customer service requests, interactions or experiences you would like to improve. Pretty soon we had a dozen and whittled the list down to 6 or 7 “absolute must have answers for.”

Then I said, “Can you identify the source of these disappointments?”

Almost always it came down to employees not having information available to them or having confusing and contradictory information or not being able to access the information quickly. Or employees just not paying attention to what they were previously told.  Sometimes it was the signage. Or the flyer. Or something the customer saw (or thought he saw) on our website or Facebook page.

We were almost finished and I helped my client write down a simple “if & then” plan. This was the walk down “WRITING IT DOWN LANE” I earlier promised him.

Here are some examples:

IF it’s almost closing time, and people are still bowling, THEN we will let everyone finish their game in the next 30 minutes.

IF a customer’s food order is messed up, THEN we will take it back, apologize, no questions asked, and then fix it.

And so we did about 5 or 6 more and then decided to make copies and give to every employee working that night. Both he and I spoke to each employee separately and they all seemed to understand what we were trying to do.

So guess what happened? 

The employees were happy and felt empowered that they could finally do what had been asked of them. They had a Set Plan. They had their “If & Then” roadmap.

The next day I called my client just to find out how the rest of the night went and he said he was going to distribute the information to the other employees that day and post it near the time clock as well as put it in their pay envelopes. “Great”, I said, “and at the next meeting ask them for other customer service issues they encounter and what is their best IF/THEN plan suggestion”. I hung up and thought for a second about how often we think about making our employees happy because as Richard Branson, the genius founder of Virgin industries says, “Keeping your employees happy first leads to happy customers. And that makes all the difference.”

I’ll keep you posted how it’s working, but somehow I feel good about this one.
About Fred Kaplowitz
Marketing is in my DNA. I love to solve problems and meet challenges head on and I have successfully produced results for hundreds of clients. I love what I do and love helping to make my clients more successful and happier. I am a husband and father, consultant, a coach, a teacher, a motivator, a copy- writer, and a speaker. I look forward to working with anyone searching for a proven methodology out of mediocrity. May I assist you in taking your business to the next level. Please call me now @ 516 359 4874 to review your business goals and strategies.

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