Sunday, July 11, 2010

Excellent Customer Service Salvages a Customer

I had a customer service experience last month that was classic in its origin and exceptional in its execution. The exceptional part of this adventure was that a customer service representative (CSR) at my bank went 2-3 steps farther than expected to help me with a problem. Almost a textbook case of 7 Steps to Turn a Complaining Customer into a Raving Fan.

The classic part was that the problem started with lousy support from my bank's IT department. I had entered a funds transfer online and didn't see it come through for several days. I called the bank and left a voicemail after hours, which was returned by an exceptional CSR right away the next morning.

That's where the exceptional part started.  She listened to the problem, apologized (didn't even suggest it was my fault), asked me all the pertinent questions, and then promised to call back. In less than an hour, she did so, saying she had called the IT department and that they had a temporary problem with online banking, but they had a look and "saw it in there". She told me it would be processed overnight and in my account the next day.

That brings me back to the classic part -- the lousy service from the IT department. A proactive group, realizing they had a problem, would have combed their processing queues -- by hand, if necessary, looking for any transactions that might have gotten hung up. They decided instead to go back to drinking coffee, and simply wait until the affected customers noticed and called up.

So, it's CSR +2 and IT Department -1. Until the following day, when the same CSR called again to be sure I'd seen the transaction in my online account, which I had. Now it's CSR +3 and IT Department -1. Imagine how effective this gal could be if she selling, instead of cleaning up after a weak IT department!!

What struck me was that she did everything right -- as if she had read 7 Steps to Turn a Complaining Customer into a Raving Fan

Now, I'm not yet a raving fan of this bank, mostly because of their weak IT department. Their Customer Service (specifically 1 CSR), on the other hand, has gone a long way to head me back in that direction.

If you've seen Raving Fan quality customer complaint handling, either from a supplier or within your own company, please click "comments" below and share your experience with others. 

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Terry Weaver

Chief Executive Boards International

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