Can a Kink in the Chain Ruin Your Link to Great Customer Service?

I just read an article about a customer’s bad experience at Best Buy titled “Will Best Buy’s Horrible Customer Service Sink Samsung?” Because of the bad experience, the author now has a bad impression of the company in general – and wasn’t afraid to write about it! However, many people commented online about what a great company Best Buy is.best_buy_edited[1]

Obviously, the issue of bad customer service has to do with WHICH Best Buy and WHO exactly works there. For example, at the Best Buy near my home, I’ve had similar bad experiences to those of the article’s author: employees are hard to find; when you do find one, they seem disinterested and in a hurry; when they go seek out an answer, they don’t return! My bad impression of Best Buy is now to the point where I will do anything but shop at my local store. A friend of mine, who lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, told me that he, too, has had similar bad experiences at his local Best Buy. However, many people have had wonderful experiences at THEIR local Best Buy.

It intrigues me that people can have such a wide range of experiences within the same chain of retail stores. Why does this service discrepancy happen? Does each store manager determine his own rules regarding customer service? What other decisions do managers make independently and haphazardly?

AND here’s the real problem: This BAD customer service reputation of one store affects my opinion of the entire chain. And if this is true for me, it’s true for many others! Potentially, that’s a whole lot of people.

Should you be concerned if one of your customers has a bad experience? What should you do if you suspect a customer is angry? Do you simply let them leave?

Strategies that Turn it Around:

1. To prevent customers from leaving angry, continually get feedback from them — surveys, focus groups, comment cards, talk to them — do them all!
2. As soon as an employee thinks a customer is upset, he should immediately inform the manager — preferably, BEFORE the customer asks.chain-kink[1]
3. The manager should then take the customer to a private area and LISTEN to the complaint — without interruption. (Most of the time, the customer simply needs to vent – to get it all out.)
4. The manager then empathizes with the customer and offers solutions until the customer is satisfied.
5. If the customer is still not satisfied, apologize again and suggest a competitor’s store — without any sarcasm.

Remember: One BAD kink CAN cause a customer to form a bad opinion of your entire chain, organization, or franchise.

What do YOU think a big chain store should do to provide consistently great customer service? Please share your thoughts below.

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