As the Arab world is gaining more and more power in business, and as the growth in this area - even with all the setbacks- is on an upwards spree, customer service tends to take a hit.
One of my colleagues was talking yesterday about how the airlines that once were world leaders in service are becoming awful. I have also witnessed a very bad service in 4 and 5 stars hotels around the region, and pretty sure that you’ve experienced a disappointing encounter in your service lately.
As a consumer, how do you deal with lousy customer service? Simple; you complain the first time, and change to another product/service the second time you receive a bad service, and if the service provider is lucky, you will file a complaint and make yourself heard.
So how do I keep an outstanding customer service level?
1- Listen to your customers: And that means actively listening to their needs and demands and being proactive in offering a tailor made service for each and every customer. When I wrote above “ if the service provider is lucky, you will file a complaint....” Feedback is the heart of any customer service, so continuously ask for it, use it and make the changes shown to your customers.
2- Walk the extra mile: Consumers will feel really rewarded if you do something extra for them and show them that you care. The Toyota sales manual says: “In case of rain, protect your customers with your umbrella and walk them to their cars”
3- Be consistent: What is worse than bad service is a service that fluctuates. When consumers know that the service is bad they don’t expect a miracle, however when they know their service is good, it has to be always good; one setback and you ruin all the good work you have previously done.
4- Do it their way: People like their service to be provided in their own special way but how do you cater to a dozen types of clients? Follow points 1 and 3 in this blog: Listen and be consistent.
5- Turn negative experiences around: It is not if you make a mistake or not, it is how you will solve the mistake. In our last Social Media Public workshop in Radisson Blu Martinez in Beirut, we made a small complaint about something minor in the service. Within the next hour, the management has sent an email with an apology, a discount on our bill, and a promise that the issue will be taken care of and will not happen again. With that move, they have renewed our loyalty.
Customer service is a relationship, and like all relationships it has some setbacks. Use those setbacks to reinforce loyalty and remember that if you mess with the level of service, your customers will stop coming no matter how powerful you are.
Camil el Khoury