Turn that customer frown upside down

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How you deal with a customer service problem tells people far more about your company than you might think….

I emailed one of my suppliers recently. I had a very small print job for a client and I needed a quote. Uncharacteristically, I didn’t hear back from the supplier right away.

A few days later, I decided to follow up with a phone call. The printing company had always been very responsive in the past, and I assumed the email had perhaps gone astray. “Didn’t you receive my email?” I asked. The supplier gave me a horrified no.

I explained the details of what I was looking for and offered to send the email again. (She needed to be able to examine a file to give me an accurate quote.) She expressed her gratitude for the second chance. I sent the email off again, right away.

But here’s where she proved her mettle. Upon receiving the file she emailed me back right away to CONFIRM that she now had it. “I’ll have to pass it along to the quoting department,” she wrote, “but I wanted to let you know that I’ll have an answer for you in a couple of hours.” And when she had that answer, she phoned me to give me the details.

She didn’t offer me a discount (nor did I expect one.) But she treated me with utmost courtesy and recognized that the original email failure might have made me nervous about email. That’s why she confirmed receipt of the file and phoned with the actual quote.

Remember: it doesn’t take all that much effort to turn a customer frown upside down. Address the heart of the problem. Be polite and apologetic. And you’ll still have a happy customer.

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