Thursday, 3 September 2009

Putting mistakes right

Chris Barling of Actinic has written a fantastic article on AccountingWeb with 5 top tips for keeping clients loyal.

Sadly you have to be a member of AccountingWeb to read the full article (grr).

So I'd just like to summarise the tips here:
  • Under promise, over deliver.
  • Stay in touch with your customers.
  • Go online.
  • Personalise your service.
  • Take responsibility.
The last point in particular winked at me.

I don't expect everyone - indeed anyone - who I deal with to provide me with a perfect service. That's just not possible. Everyone's going to make a bodge up now and again. We're only human.

What I do like is for people to sort out their mistakes.

My four principles of correcting a mistake:
  1. Admit it. Don't try and blag your way out of it or spin the customer a tale, (s)he can see right through you and isn't thinking much of you. And whatever you do don't blame someone else.
  2. Apologise to the customer.
  3. Explain to the customer what you're going to do in order to put the mistake right.
  4. And DO IT. Put the mistake right! No passing the buck and forgetting about it. If you have to ask someone else to correct it (e.g. your supervisor has to authorise a refund at the till) then make sure they do it!
Someone who makes a mistake then follows those four principles to correct it, is likely to score very highly for good customer service in my book.

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