Positive Problem Solving
When I was consulting with Mercedes North America years ago, I found that their most successful dealerships (with the highest customer service ratings) were differentiated by how they handled problems and complaints. It wasn’t that they didn’t have them, it was that they handled them rapidly and with great customer sensitivity.
“Problems,” said the most successful dealership owner I encountered, “are ironically the key to great service. No one raves about a hotel because room service was on time. They rave when it was late and the hotel apologized and picked up the tab.”
That doesn’t mean that you should create problems in order to respond to them so well! But it does mean that preventing them is a top priority and so is dealing with the aftermath when they inevitably do occur in an imperfect world.
“We’re very sorry we caused this problem, what will make you happy?” goes a long way.