Big Business, Little Things: On Customer Relations

Customer Relations is often a study in the little things.

Little Things,  Big Impression

When we cruise, the cabin stewards make a point of learning our names, routines, waiters our dinner preferences. That comes from training, from HR and CRM, empowering the staff to be proactive. Employees are the brand.

Alas there’s always something. One trip someone damaged our luggage. The poor customer relations (poor service, bad PR) here:

  • The bag was tilting to the side without a wheel, obviously broken.
  • We called guest services and explained the situation. We had to go to the service desk, repeat the phone conversation, wasting our precious vacation time.
  • The first ‘oops our bad’ letter was poorly worded, suggesting that the incident “under review” as if they might not correct their mistake. This required a second trip to customer service, where we got a claim number and a dollar amount to cover the cost of repairing or replacing that piece of luggage.

A Mistake Isn’t Failure 

Classic Despair meme for bad customer relations post.

Something happened that put a damper on our trip, an issue that required fixing – simple as that.

I’ve written it so many ways. Whether it’s a bad tweet, a questionable blog post, a brilliant campaign that doesn’t sell a so-so product – mistakes happen. It’s not the mistake – it’s what the brand, the company does to make it right. Captain Obvious meet Disney World.

Think how differently this whole encounter would have gone had that luggage arrived to the door, with a simple proactive note attached:

Dear Ms. Brewer, We’re so sorry, it appears your bag has been damaged sometime during arrival to the ship. Your claim number is XX. Please contact me at your convenience. Sincerely, {Name} Guest Relations

Right there, we’d have been put at ease instead of on the defensive. Our time would have been valued and we would have been impressed with the service, instead of starting under a dark cloud. Good Customer Relations is good PR.

What’s your experience: Big or small, when has a business impressed (or failed to) you with the proactive offering a solution to a problem you’ve had? 

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