Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Unhappy Customers are a Golden Opportunity

In a response to an article I wrote for Gitomer's Sales Caffeine, about how to greet an unhappy customer, I received this great letter from Bill Pennola. It really shows how important having the right attitude is in serving your customers.
"A number of years ago I was a manager for a major electronics retailer in the New York City area when a customer stormed into the store with a portable radio that supposedly did not work.

He demanded at once to speak to a manager and insisted at the top of his lungs someone was going to "take care of him immediately." I walked up to this irate customer and extended my hand to greet him while saying, Hi ! My name is Bill and I am the store manager, I don't believe we have met.  How can I help you today?

This time the customer slammed the radio on the glass counter and insisted it was a piece of, (well you know what) and wanted his money back. I might want to add here, the store's policy is to refund up to 30 days and the manager can make a decision to extend that if need be.

I mentioned to the customer, I would be more that happy to refund his money but did he really want his money or did he want a radio that worked.  I asked if he purchased this radio for a reason and would it be better if the item he purchased performed to his expectations?  He relentlessly agreed.

I asked him what exactly was it that did not work on the unit?  He replied. "It won't even turn on."  I opened the radio battery compartment and found that the batteries were installed incorrectly.  After installing new batteries into the unit and demonstrating the radios' key features, the customer started to get a grin on his face.

I then apologized to the customer once again and provided yet another set of batteries gratis.  He was so happy the radio worked he actually purchased two more with enough batteries to last a lifetime.

He thanked me on the way out and mentioned he would tell his friends about the great customer service and would buy all his electronics from me in the future.

A few months went buy when this same customer once again stormed into the store.  This time a younger fellow by his side.  They came right up to me and he introduced me to his son and said to him , John your in good hands, Bill will take great care of you. John then proceeded to spend over $ 10,000.00 on a new Home Entertainment system complete with flat panel TV and all of the works.

Since that time, over 10 years ago, I have looked at all unhappy customers, as Golden Opportunities and cannot wait to "take care of them immediately."

How are YOU handling these "Golden Opportunities?"