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Most people live their life as reaction to events that happen around them, and very few create events and define how they will live their Lives...

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

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

Posted By Ideas Group at
08:08 - AM
Friday, April 8, 2011

Have you ever encountered someone who didn’t help you at all with your request and negatively answered you before even trying?
I would expect everyone to raise their hands as rarely as the lucky customers who come across extra-ordinary people, who are eager to serve; who stand above the crowd to make a difference and create a unique exceptional experience.

My story is short. I have been struggling to get an earlier appointment from one of the European friendly embassies in Beirut for a visit visa request since 2 weeks now. However I have been shut down many times, getting unhelpful answers such as“ You need to call again, You need to keep calling, You have to wait until someone cancels, sorry, I can’t do anything for you”. I honestly was about to loose interest in considering that country for my next vacation, until, when I called last time, and a new voice was one the line.

The gentleman over the phone was too kind and listened to my case. He  actually tried to put me on hold as he was trying to assist me, but in vain. However, he called me back after few minutes to inform me that actually he was able to find me an earlier appointment and was so delighted to know how happy I was to hear that.

The impact of the news was mind-blowing. A simple employee made the day of a customer. Although this employee was just like the others ones, same position, same duties, same tasks, with the only difference that he was willing to do the extra mile before just saying ‘NO’.
This small story is a recurrent example of many disengaged employees, not truly passionate to serve their clients when with a simple effort from their side can make a huge difference. (I recomend you to watch " The Extra Degree” movie from the simple truth.)

So before we say ‘No’ to anyone, you should know what to say:
- Give alternatives. Suggest a solution to make it easier on your customer, look at the case in a different way and try different options.
- Empathize. With each case, make the customer understand that you have done your best, and you felt the importance and emergency of the request.
- Use your empowerment. Make things happen and find a way through the impossible. After all ‘impossible is nothing’. Do everything you can to shift the situation from getting worse.
- Put yourself in the customers’ shoe. Imagine it was you who is facing the same issue. How would you feel? and what do you want to hear from the person in front?
- Equip yourself. Be ready and prepared before you answer back. Equip yourself with enough facts and information to avoid the client from feeling like he/she is another number.
- Listen till the end. Maybe you will grab some hidden information that will lead you to a better shortcut or solution.
- Give advices. That will assist the client with the next shopping experience. He/she will always remember your advice and think of you positively.
- Ask questions. Make sure that everything you need to know is clear and covered. Mistakes can be avoided. The devil is in the details.
Finally, Knowing what to say and how to say it, have changed the world. It is a ‘make it’ or ‘break it’ thing that will always leave an impact on building effective relationships with people.

Diana Mouamar

Posted By Ideas Group at
10:33 - AM
Customer Service | ideas groupideas group is a global learning and human capital development firm specialized in leadership, team development and learning business process outsourcing BPO. We help our clients become high performance organizations and foster a sustainable growth.