We have all had it in our private lives, the cashier who is busy having a conversation with another employee and doesn’t even glance at you, how about person on the phone who tells you “I can’t do anything to help you”, and worst of all the inexplicably absent person whom you can contact. These day’s customers are requested to fill out a form that goes to “someone” who in turn will write you a form letter back.
To say that customer service is on the decline is an understatement and it’s starting to creep into our professional life. This is not only bad for us, but how can we in turn give excellent service to our clients when we are not getting it ourselves?
Luckily the vast majority of the hospitality and event businesses know that when customer service goes so do their customers, but how do you deal with those that don’t return your calls, your emails and your inquiries? It’s easy to say you just go on to the next business on your list, they will want your business, but in my experience when this situation happens it’s always after I am engaged with a company or my client who is dead set on using this particular business. So what can you do to get things back on track?
Take it to the Boss
It shocks me how many people refuse to take a situation that is not working and sit on it instead of engaging a boss or higher up simply because they don’t want to get someone in trouble. If the person is overwhelmed, too busy or not qualified to do his or her job someone needs to know AND take care of you, the customer.
Now at what point you should do this is entirely up to you, however I suggest start it by including the boss on an email you send to the person you are having struggles with (you can call the company or look up on the internet for their email) and go from there.
Trust me when I say “getting in to trouble” is best left in the schoolyard and not in business and you will be surprised at how quickly you get back on track.
In Person or Online Meeting Request
Sometimes the people that you have problems with are one to two person companies and the boss is whom you have hired. Depending on the severity of the issue you may have to send an email stating your needs for an in person meeting or you will need to pull or change the contract, due to your needs not being met. Many times this will get immediate attention and a meeting can be set.
At this meeting be very clear in your expectations and use facts only. Treat this meeting as if you are talking to someone within your corporation. This is a business contract and hopefully you can come to some agreement on how best to move forward.
Cut Your Losses
If all of the avenues have been tried and nothing is working, it’s time to move on. This is the hardest step, because it means a relationship is severed, you may have lost some money and that you now have to get a new company on board at a less than ideal time, but sometimes this is the best step. When you trust and get information from your hired companies on time and correctly, you in turn can provide your client with the best possible service and at the end of each and everyday that is the goal, right?
What is your most horrific professional customer service story?