By Guest Contributor Steve Browne, President, Raving Consultancy, Reno Nevada
In this second instalment of a three-part series from Raving Consulting we look at what to do when it comes to Customer Service Recovery. That is, we’re looking at positive ways on how you handle mistakes and stuff ups. In the first article, we covered that, in the absence of any training or forethought, we often end up treating irate or complaining customers like an A.S.S. – We A — Argue, S — Suck Up, and S — Stay Away. (Click here to read the Part 1.)
Now that we know how NOT to handle an agitated guest, let’s talk about one method that they train at Raving Consulting: Being a B.U.D.D.Y.
The first step in developing an effective service recovery program is to develop a procedure for handling upset guests, that not only doesn’t treat them like an A.S.S., but also recognises their value to the organisation and the need to develop an outcome that delights them and makes them happy.
Yes, training is essential, but first you must have something to train for. And that brings us to B.U.D.D.Y.
The B.U.D.D.Y. process is just one of many procedures (all of which are similar) for handling upset customers. Whether you read Ken Blanchard or Tom Peters, John Tschohl or any other service guru, they all agree on one thing: The best way to handle an upset customer with a problem is to
1) apologise immediately
2) fix the problem or issue, and
3) offer something of value.
Those are the three commandments of service recovery. And while they sound good in theory, putting them into practice can be a bit more difficult, especially in the gaming business. After all, sometimes the problem is that the customer lost money, and that is something we cannot fix (or can we? It depends on how you look at it).
So it is critical that you build a customer recovery process that works for your organisation. It needs to cover the steps that your recovery staff will use, all the tools you develop for them to use in the effort, and an ironclad process that keeps you from treating customers like the aforementioned A.S.S.
At Raving Consulting, the basic procedure is referred to as B.U.D.D.Y., and it stands for Building A Relationship; Understanding What The Customer Wants/Needs; Delivering Solutions; Delighting With A Follow-Up; and Yelling About Your Success.
Another formula developed by Michele Comeau, of Performance UnLimited, is L.A.U.G.H. It stands for basically the same thing, but in a different format. Whether you utilise a procedure developed by these or other service companies, or develop your own customised formula, it is critical that you make it the standard throughout the organisation.
CONSISTENCY OF RECOVERY EFFORTS IS CRITICAL IF YOU ARE TO BE SUCCESSFUL.
Often we need to refer customers to others in order to solve their problems. When the referring employee offers advice as to what stages of the process have been covered (such as Build and Understand), it is good to know that the employee who has been passed the problem is on the same page and has instant understanding of where the process is.
And as in all other aspects of your organisation, consistency of delivery from one person or department to the next is key to your efforts to provide a superior service product and seamless gaming experience to your guests. So build a recovery process that effectively mirrors the three commandments of handling irate customers.
When you listen and apologise, fix the problem, and deliver something of value, you quit treating the guest like an A.S.S. and start treating them like a valued friend.
Look for the third and final installment in this series coming soon.