Customer service: Being right vs. being right-minded

December 10, 2013 0
Customer service: Being right vs. being right-minded

One day, two drastically different customer service experiences.

In the morning, I worked out at my health club. When I told the front desk clerk that two machines I tried to use weren’t working properly, he did a cursory check and told me he thought they were fine–even though other members in the vicinity verified the problem. For whatever reason, he was more invested in “being right” than trying to solve a problem. It took a call to the club manager to resolve the issue.

This wasted my time, made me feel unheard, delayed fixing a mechanical problem that clearly affected several members, and generally created unnecessary customer service stress.

Lunchtime on the same day was delightfully different.

Explaining to the server that I was temporarily on a strict eating regimen, she not only checked my request thoroughly with the kitchen before I ordered, but indicated she would try to ring it up in a way that would save money–without any prompting on my part. Clearly, she was invested in being “right-minded,” going the extra mile for a customer who had special needs.

This experience cast the restaurant in a positive light and left me believing that I would be heard on my next visit.

Roughly 90 percent of disgruntled customers don’t complain; many just quietly leave.

I harp on this theme frequently, in part because good customer service—although one of the most important elements of customer acquisition and retention—often isn’t ingrained in companies. More appallingly, the seemingly small issues frequently drive customers toward longtime loyalty or toward a competitor.

In self-storage, the difference between getting and keeping a good customer and losing one can be these small stumbling blocks. Good customer service protocols turn them into building blocks, while bad procedures just trip up everyone.

Here are three realities to consider when pairing prospects and tenants with employees of your company.

1. Problems Are Solutions Waiting to Happen.
If someone tells you there’s a problem, it gives you concrete information that you can use to fix the problem and demonstrate a positive customer service attitude in the process.

Roughly 90 percent of disgruntled customers don’t complain; many just quietly leave. So, rejoice in the complaint—it’s the best way of uncovering issues that need attention. And customers who feel heard and whose issues are dealt with often become even more loyal than before, because they see your willingness to work with them and go the extra mile.

2. It’s Important to Reach Out.
Even if initial signup is done via kiosk, a follow-up call or contact from a facility representative (call center or on-site employee) can be a valuable tool. Checking with the customer to see how things are going–rather than just sending an email or conducting a survey–will help shore up tenant relationships.

3. Adding Some Value Can Pay Off.
Armed with feedback about tenant preferences and needs, make an improvement or two—then communicate it as a no-cost, no-strings-attached perk. This added value can go a long way toward keeping tenants loyal when competitors beckon or something bad happens.

Also, you could consider a price break of some type. Imagine the response of tenants who receive some sort of rebate or price reduction without having to jump through hoops. One of the biggest gripes of existing customers is that prospects often get better deals to get them in the door. Reward those customers who already have walked through the door.