I always feel a build-up of excitement at the prospect of flying somewhere for a break. I make my living in property investment and I really feel that it is in my blood, but, even I need a break from time to time! As the holiday approaches, anticipation builds up and, with that, the hope that the flight will be enjoyable.
However, all too often, small things can make a journey unpleasant; a sharp word exchanged; a nasty smell, a bumpy flight or a bad meal. However, on a flight recently, I had the benefit of a most pleasant and positive experience which made all the difference to my memories of the journey and which underlined the really positive benefits to an organisation (and to its customers) which arise from highly-effective customer service. In an efficient organisation it is essential that well thought-out business systems be in place to handle unforeseen eventualities. Even in the most efficient business system, there will be mistakes, what is needed is to ensure customer satisfaction through effective customer service.
Before we went, I had made sure that I had ordered two vegetarian meals for the six-hour flight. In fact, it was even listed on our tickets! However, shortly after take-off it was discovered that they had no vegetarian meals, after all. If we had simply been told that it was just our tough luck and that we would just have to eat the same as everyone else, a most unhappy and starving pair of passengers would have arrived. It is at times like this that an organisation which is attuned to customer service and which deals efficiently and effectively with customer complaints really kicks in.
Whatever your own business may be, you will know, just as I do when I am building a cashflowing property portfolio for a bespoke client that you must – repeat, must – deal with customer complaints, concerns or queries – if they arise – immediately and, above all, efficiently. The basic approach that you have to take is to turn the problem or concern to your advantage, if you can do so. It shows that you are customer service orientated and that the customer is number one in your eyes.
In this case, despite the stewardesses having no vegetarian dishes set aside for us, they swiftly and professionally dealt with the problem by providing staff vegetarian meals for us. I was really impressed by this unexpected level of service and even devotion to duty especially considering they were just a charter flight! It was a real bonus to me as a customer to find that I was someone who mattered enough for them to use their own supplies to ensure that I received the service I had expected, but which circumstances had jeopardised.
As a result, we had a great flight and, more to the point, we really felt valued by the airline. Their staff had turned the situation around and, by ensuring that we were dealt with attentively, they ensured that our memories of the journey were positive ones. It just goes to show that dealing with complaints effectively should be at the heart of any business system, because a business relies upon its customers and their perception of the business. As a landlord, I have to ensure that my tenants are happy and any complaints or issues are dealt with quickly, because, if I don’t, it could affect my business reputation. As a portfolio builder I make sure that my clients are happy long after my “paid for service” ends by monitoring their properties from afar and being on hand to offer advice or lend a hand if queries arise. Equally, if your customers think that your standard of customer service leaves a lot to be desired, your business will suffer.
How good are your business systems, how would you handle a complaint, query or issue and what happened when you had a complaint?
Have you had to deal with a complaint from a tenant? How did you manage it?