The story youre about to read is true. No need to change the name to protect the innocent. The only innocent is the customer, me!
I own a Yamaha Razz motor scooter. Nothing fancy, just a small 49cc scooter. One day it wouldnt start. I loaded it up and took it over to a Yamaha Dealer, Kennedys Cycle. 'Well call you in a couple of days and let you know whats needed,'I was told. That was August 7. When no call came by August 17, I called Kennedys. 'Oh, were a little behind, but were going to get right to it and well call you tomorrow,' said the service manager. Again, no call.
By August 30, Id turned into the angry customer ready to blast whomever answered. I, quickly and calmly, explained my dilemma to the receptionist and demanded to speak to the service manager. While on hold I locked and loaded my attack. But I never got to pull the trigger!
'Mr. Schultz, I am the most embarrassed manager on the planet,' the voice started out, 'and Im ready to eat humble pie. We have totally failed you. We havent kept our promise and I am really sorry. And I assure you well do whatever it takes to make it up to you, starting with absolutely no labor charges for whatever we need to do to your scooter,' he added.
Talk about an honest admission of failure! After that speech, I couldn't unload on the guy. He actually won me back as he admitted his shop was overwhelmed.
Whats my point? You could be the worlds best at customer service, but lets face it: To err is human and theres always going to be screw ups. What you do next is the key. Its no time to duck the customer (wait for his call), blame someone else (the parts manufacturer) or concoct some story. Rather, its time to swallow some pride and scramble to make it up to the customer. Contacting the customer first, apologizing and, yes, eating some humble pie should all be involved.
Justin Martin cites the following in his report Do Your Customers Love You? in Fortune Small Business: A Vancouver home health-care company (nursenextdoor.ca) with $10 million in revenues goes for the dramatic. When the company messes up, it delivers a humble pie, a fresh-baked apple pie with a note that says in part: We are very humbled by our mistake and sincerely apologize for our poor service.' Reportedly, the firm has spent $1,300 on pies. but believes its kept $90,000 in business.
It can pay to swallow some pride! Have you developed a good idea on how to recover when service goes bad?