Let me share a recent experience one of my colleagues related to me that really drove home how good internal and external communications are essential to good customer service. Here's the story he told me:
"At the urging of my dashboard light telling me to take my car in for an oil change and tire pressure check, I headed down the road. Call me optimistic, but I believed the service representative when she told me the car check-up would only take the usual 30 or 40 minutes. I had been to the service center many times, and their "express service" never disappointed me before. No appointment necessary, she said, "Just come in, and we'll have you out in no time."
The Countdown Begins
So in I went. Upon my arrival, I completed the necessary service forms, handed over my keys, and settled down to catch the latest news on the television in the waiting area. After 45 minutes, I checked on my car's progress. "They are working on it" was the response. Another 45 minutes later and I made another check. "They are doing a computer update" was the response this time.
After yet another 45 minutes of waiting (by now, 2 hours and 15 minutes of waiting time for the 30-minute express service), I was pretty annoyed. Another check with the service desk, and I was advised that the car needed a second computer update. She said that the car should be done as soon as they complete this download. After another 45 minute wait, my car was finally done. Three hours of total waiting time that in the past would take no more than 1-hour."
The service rep at the desk was most likely not getting the entire picture from the mechanics working on the car. This dialogue with the customer is an internal critical communication link that should be correct and open. As in the case of the service desk rep, who is the "face to the customer," many of us have been in this type of dilemma in which we cannot give our best customer service.
Here are three suggestions to help improve on a difficult situation.
- Accurately communicate the picture internally and to the customer with some options and ask what works for them.
- If the customer decides to wait, give updates, so the customer is kept informed of progress.
- Communicate honestly, don't say something that you think the customer wants to hear, like "they are working on it" when they are not.
Regardless of the business you are in or the position you hold, communicating effectively within your team is essential to good communications with the customer and will go a long way toward improving your customer service.
Contact me at www.trignanoconsulting.com for information about coaching and career management. 551-800-.1127