Since the beginning of the year I have made several business trips west, south, and north. In most cases I flew and in some cases I drove my (beautiful new old SAAB!)
But no matter where I went or how I traveled, there were some minor snafus. Nothing major, just little inconveniences like:
- Key card not working the first time in hotel room so had to go downstairs and get a new one
- Gas station pump didn’t work, had to go to other pump; that one didn’t work either so one more pump try, and “wala” it worked
- Free internet service became paid internet service
- And so on, and so on
In each of the aforementioned case, the problems were taken care of quickly, efficiently and pretty much satisfactorily. Great REACTIVE customer service! Great diving catches!
But here is my question. Why didn’t they have Great PROACTIVE customer service?
Why didn’t these Fortune 500 type companies figure out what to do before there was a problem so they didn’t have to react all the time?
I’ve taken too many customer service classes and courses that teach you how to apologize to a customer, how to diffuse a situation and how to listen to the customers complaints in such a way that your (perceived) compassion comes thru.
Why didn’t I hear about how to spot potential problems and fix them before they become problems?
When Walt Disney was putting together his ideas on customer service, he once told his staff, “There will be no dirty windows anywhere on the property.” One of his senior staff members asked how that would be possible. How could they schedule that? “Simple”, said Walt, “everyone will have a small rag and if they see a dirty window, they will clean it immediately. NO one is exempt from that including me.”
With that philosophy, his staff went about thinking about all potential problems that could happen and created solutions.
Here’s one genius proactive customer service issue they solved before it became a problem.
The parking lot at any Disney theme park is huge; probably holds 5,000 or more cars. If you forget where you parked your white Chevy or Toyota rental, you’re not alone; hundreds of people do it every day.
To solve that problem, all the customer has to do is tell the service attendant about what time they parked their car and the attendant will take them to the area that is reserved for cars that arrived at a particular time. The customer’s parking ticket lets them know what time they entered and by matching the entry time with the parking area, it is easy to find the missing car. Genius!
Now think about your bowling center and what potential issues can be solved before they become problems? Not having a problem to solve seems to me a better idea then having to solve, even successfully, a thorny issue.
Think about this. How many times do you have to give a customer a 2nd pair of shoes because the first pair didn’t fit? Why not have shoe sizers on the floor where the customer places his foot in it? He can then tell you his accurate size. Poof! Problem goes away!
Review your policies. Check out how you can be more proactive then reactive. If you do, you just might have happier (and more loyal) customers…and less problems to fix too!