Customer Challenges & Response Protocol

Is your company Zero Risk? Zero Risk doesn’t mean your organization never drops the ball. What Zero Risk does mean is that when the ball is dropped, your employees (any employee) handles it appropriately and makes it right with the Customer. The Customer may now actually be more loyal than they would have been had everything gone as they expected. There are four key parts to being a Zero Risk company:

  1. Have a specific response protocol that all employees are trained to use for when Customer challenges occur.
  2. Know where your company drops the ball most often.
  3. Have systems & processes in place to reduce issues from happening.
  4. Have a service recovery system and tools that your employees can use to make it right when it does happen.

Response protocol that all employees are trained to use for when Customer challenges occur- This is the one I want to focus on in this article. Here is a test: Ask five employees what they would do if they encounter an upset Customer (the reason is not important). I guarantee you will get five different answers. It is key that all your employees know how to properly react and handle a situation when a Customer is inconvenienced and potentially upset. The key is that training needs to be easy to remember, effective and easy to implement. I have seen dozens of different protocols; my favorite that is both easy and effective is L.E.A.S.T.

  • Listen – Give your Customer your complete attention. Listen for the real reason the Customer is unhappy. Never interrupt. Keep eye contact and nod as the Customer is speaking.
  • Empathize and Apologize – Try to do your best to relate to how your Customer is feeling by putting yourself in their shoes (i.e. disappointed, frustrated). Let the Customer know how genuinely sorry you are. Never make the Customer wrong. Speak softly.
  • Assess – Depending on the level of inconvenience caused to the Customer and how upset they are, determine what needs to be done. Minor inconvenience (i.e. 5-10 minute wait) requires a minor resolution (i.e. thank you for your patience). Major inconvenience means we need to step up and blow the Customer away with an outstanding resolution, turning them into a raving fan.
  • Solve – Do your best to solve the problem right there on the spot and make them happy. Take personal responsibility for solving the problem, act as an advocate for the Customer. Be 100% positive the Customer is completely satisfied.
  • Thank – Thank the Customer for bringing the issue to your attention and giving you the opportunity to make it right. Thank them for their patience and for being a loyal Customer.

Fast tracking to the top – In a few short years, Sheldon Harris rose from a front-line employee at Costco to being responsible for 350 employees and $160M in annual sales, overseeing operations in Alaska. Sheldon also led diverse projects including spearheading Costco’s entry into the Russian market, and launching a new athletic club subsidiary, SportsNation. From there, as President, he took a virtually unknown Cold Stone Creamery and turned 1400 stores operating domestically and internationally into the 11th fastest-growing franchise nationally. Sheldon knows how to make companies grow — by making leaders grow.

A CEO’s CEO – Today Sheldon is a Partner with CEO Coaching International where he coaches and leads entrepreneurs and executives in bringing out the best in their teams and organizations to achieve better results and greater success. This includes diverse industries and business models — consumer retail, e-commerce, business-to-business sales, franchising, manufacturing and distribution, consumer lending, oil and gas, education, and executive recruiting. You can learn directly from Sheldon, who will be doing a breakout session at this year’s Secret Service Summit September 29th – 30th, titled Winning in Your “People” Business.

No matter what industry you are in, you are really only in ONE business; the PEOPLE business. Learn the proven “best practices” that the most effective leaders in the world use to leverage the power of their people:

  • The four questions you must ask if you intend to win.
  • How to Improve bottom-line results by getting people to bring their A-game every day.
  • Resolve conflict…without the conflict.
  • Effectively lead change even when it’s outside of your team’s comfort zone.
  • Find more time and life balance by applying a few simple strategies

This presentation will help any leader to be more effective and achieve better results regardless of the industry, geography, or stage of growth.

*Related – Just a few days left (August 1st) to save $300 on your Summit ticket

About The Author

John DiJulius

John R. DiJulius is a best-selling author, consultant, keynote speaker and President of The DiJulius Group, the leading Customer experience consulting firm in the nation. He blogs on Customer experience trends and best practices.