Helpful Ideas to Keep Your Company Running Smoothly

Posted on January 10, 2013 by - Also by this author

Editor’s Note: Welcome to Smooth Operations, a new department that replaces Transpo101. It will provide a broad range of information focused on new ideas and approaches in management, human resources, customer service, marketing, networking and technology. Do you have something to share or want us to cover something? Please contact me at Jim@LCTmag.com. I would love to hear from you.

 Having a predefined complaint resolution process based on certain parameters can make the experience more pleasant for you and your client.
 Having a predefined complaint resolution process based on certain parameters can make the experience more pleasant for you and your client.

Handling customer complaints
This is never a pleasant task. Having a predefined complaint resolution process based on certain parameters can make the experience more pleasant for you and your client. That is to say, have a plan. There are some situations within our industry bound to come up. They include being tardy to a pickup, mechanical failure, delayed airport connections and road delays. Knowing these issues will arise, determine how you will handle it in advance based on each known circumstance. By having a set course of action, you will not fumble with your client while trying to figure out what you should do. While each situation may differ, if you’re late, you’re late. If you have a mechanical issue, it doesn’t matter if the A/C failed or your vehicle died on the side of the road. The client still was inconvenienced. Your plan to make things right should be fair for all clients.

It is said that the longer people stay mad, the madder they get. In the time it takes for an employee to call a manager to report a situation and have the manager call back, a client is likely to become more upset at the delay. Consider empowering your employees at field level to resolve issues. They are the face of the company anyway, and they see firsthand and face-to-face the anger of a client. If you have a pre-established policy for what happens when the A/C system fails, empower your employee to tell the client immediately what the resolution will be. For example, “You will receive a credit for one hour of service or a gift certificate for future use,” or whatever you may offer. By having a consistent way to handle a specified problem, a client can be calmed immediately by resolving it. Don’t be afraid to let your field staff make decisions if you have taught them how to resolve certain situations.

Analysis of a problem
If the problem is not a predefined issue, obviously you will have to analyze it. This includes looking at the five “Ws and H.” Who was involved? What happened? When did it happen? Where did it happen? Why did it happen? How did it happen? Was it preventable? How was the passenger inconvenienced? How was it resolved at the time of the incident? From the answers, you must determine what is appropriate and do it swiftly. We live in a “now” society. People don’t want to hear, “Let me get my manager,” or “We’ll get back to you.” Obviously some things require an investigation, but if so, make the investigation and resolution priorities.

When resolutions fail
There are some customers who will probably never be satisfied. When a client isn’t satisfied with your offer of a resolution, simply ask the question, “What can I do to make it right with you?” If their offer is reasonable to you, accept it immediately and follow-up with, “I am so happy we were able to work out a final resolution.” This comment solidifies the fact that it was resolved once and for all so they don’t try to use it against you six months later and request a “deal” because of a prior incident.

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