by Sarah Petty As a small business owner, saying “no”…
“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.”
On and off I regularly have a “challenge” with one of the major companies in our lives. Verizon, Comcast and Frontier Communications are all good examples. I know I’m not alone because everything is a challenge for so many consumers with these companies.
They’re too big with too many layers to dig through, and often senior management is too far away from what’s really happening on the front line. The issues I’ve had don’t matter. The challenge is being bounced around the company as one person after another tries to figure out what department I need to speak with.
I’m a huge fan of WalkTheTalk.com and a number of the different books they publish on customer service, leadership, communication etc. I ran across the TWO-PERSON-RULE from an almost twenty-year-old publication: 180 Ways to Walk the Customer Service Talk
“Adopt the TWO-PERSON-RULE. Never make a customer talk to more than two people in order to resolve a problem. If you’re the second person to deal with the customer, you “own” them. Either solve the problem immediately or get a phone number and a convenient time to call back.”
I realize most photographers are on their own and rarely have the luxury of more than one other person to help solve customer problems, so let’s modify the TWO-PERSON-RULE. If you’re a solo operator, make it a point to solve customer problems no later than the second phone call.
Don’t go back and forth over the customer’s issues. Listen to their concern, empathize and if you can’t solve the problem right there, call them back within 24 hours with a solution. It’s important to solve problems quickly and not let things drag out. When things drag out longer than a customer anticipates, whatever the solution is, no matter how hard you’ve worked, it’s anticlimactic!
And one more thought thanks to Walk The Talk…
“Complainers are GREAT! They give you the opportunity to fix their problems and keep them as customers – instead of saying nothing and taking their business elsewhere.”