Great Customer Service Training
How to Say Sorry and Really Make an Impression

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Remember that the majority of customers who have a complaint resolved to their satisfaction are more loyal after the event than they ever were before the problem arose. Now don't use that as an excuse to make a mess of things for every customer. You'll soon get caught out. But, when things do go wrong, how can you win the customer round?

My first story is about my local Sainsbury supermarket. My wife, Maggie, had bought some fruit. But when she got it home we noticed that the grapes looked a bit "manky" and the pineapple was past its sell by date. So I volunteered to take these back to the store.

Whenever I take something back I always feel a little apprehensive. I've got so used to people being defensive that I'm almost ready for a fight right from the start.

I went to the customer service desk and was delighted when the lady there offered to refund my money. No questions asked. Just a very friendly and polite, "Sorry", and an offer to give me a full refund. She had exceeded my expectations.

But what came next was the icing on the cake. She simply said, "If you would like to go and select some more grapes and pineapple from the shelf and bring them back to this desk, I'll let you have them free of charge."

WOW!

Empowerment!

This is what it's all about.

Lose the battle but win the war.

I estimate that we spend at least $20 per week on fruit. That's more than �1000 per year and we've been shopping in that store for almost 15 years. We've spent over �15,000 just on fruit.

We've probably spent more than $125,000 in that store in total including all our other food and petrol from their service station.

And yet I'm blown away by this gesture of just $3.98!

My second story comes from Iain Grubb. Here's the story that Iain sent me:

"My neighbors had just got married and went on their Honeymoon to Bali and stayed at the Four Seasons, the finest hotel on the island.

As a special treat they booked the Honeymoon Suite. Upon arrival at the hotel they were informed that the Honeymoon suite was double booked for the first 2 nights and so they would have to stay in a regular suite.

The General Manager apologized profusely, but the couple was not only angry but also quite upset as this was their honeymoon. The hotel offered a complimentary dinner, free excursions and bottles of champagne by way of apology. The couple went to their room still slightly upset but pleased with the way the hotel had reacted to the problem.

On the second day the couple went on their excursion and returned to be informed that they could move to the honeymoon suite. They opened the door and looked into the luxury of the suite, the wife bursts into tears...... why?

On the bed, spelt out in rose petals, was the word "SORRY".

This couple now recommends not just this specific hotel but Four Seasons Hotels anywhere in the world. This example demonstrates how going the extra mile can add to the customer service training experience. It would have cost the hotel nothing for the rose petals, but the impact on the customers was huge."

What can I say but "WOW!"

What's your system for turning a complaint into a magic moment?

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