Thursday, September 18, 2014

So You’re Stuck in a Customer Service Mishap...

If you've been following social media, you might have heard about the grueling back & forth between Comcast customer Ryan Block and a customer service rep that went viral. It only reminds us about how great customer service should always be top priority for your company. However, despite your best efforts to avoid a disaster, sometimes you can find yourself in a mess. What are the best ways to respond to an inadvertent customer service faux pas?

Admit it!
Acknowledge that there is a problem. Work with the client to find out exactly what went wrong and commit to work together jointly to seek resolution. What is the scope of the problem? If someone was rude, this could be a disciplinary training issue. If the rep provided incorrect facts about a product, there could be a general training problem. If you are still investigating the impact of the data breach, let your clients know right away so they could take some steps to reduce the impact, even if you are still working on it. Transparency about an issue is the first step in messaging to your customers that you are going to be on top of it.

What if customer is the problem? Just about every one of us had been witness to rude and aggressive customer taking it out on the stewardess, waiter, or customer support rep. With proper training, your customer service team should have a detailed plan when dealing with such customers. However in an extreme case of mistreatment, harassment, or inappropriate behavior remember to always stand behind your people first and foremost. 

Come up with a Game Plan 
Now that you pinpointed your problem, come up with a resolution to deal with it. Communicate your plan to the affected customer and work jointly to agree on a solution. Sometimes there are issues that simply cannot be resolved. In this case, be honest, apologize, and, if it's possible, try to offer alternatives. Staying clear, open, and calm will keep the customer as ease even if the problem may not be fixed.

Fix the problem! For good
Execute your game plan. Whether it is an immediate fix or one more rooted in your company, work with your team. Debrief on what needs to be done, and how best to do it. Come up with a better training strategy for your customer service reps. Re-vamp your product training program. Consult IT to clear out a reoccurring client data issue. Whatever the issue is, being proactive about the execution is a vital part of the resolution. Equally important is figuring out what has to be done to prevent the issue from re-occurring.

Get Closure
With a proper strategy & effort you will be able put your mishap behind you. After you have come to terms with your customer service faux pas, ask the client for feedback. According to, Adam Toporek, a Customer Experience Strategist, considering the customers feelings is one of the most important aspects of customer service that often gets overlooked. Ask the client if the issue was addressed to their liking. Can you be of further assistance? Do they have any other suggestions? Even though this may seem counterintuitive you may consider asking if they would be willing to share their news of the positive experience with your company.

Sometimes even the best planning cannot protect you from a "disaster." However your response in the time of the crisis can provide a better measure and appreciation of your offering and for working with your organization.

Got a horrific customer service disaster or experience? Let us know by commenting below!

Rachel & the team

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