By now you have at least heard about, if you haven’t heard the 8 minute phone call, that went viral when a customer service representative at Comcast refuses to allow a customer to disconnect service without giving a reason why. This 8 minute call between AOL employee Mr. Block and the CSR is sure to haunt Comcast in the foreseeable future. It couldn’t have come at a worse time for Comcast as they attempt to convince regulators to approve a $45 billion bid to buy Time Warner Cable amidst battling poor customer satisfaction ratings. The understandable fear is that with the merging of these two cable giants, customer service will decline with a lack of competition necessary to make them strive to provide better service.
The Win-Back Phone Call
Often during a “win-back” phone call, a phone call during which a client would like to cancel their service and a customer service representative attempts to save the client from cancellation, the representative follows a series of questions to understand the reason for cancellation. For most companies the goal of a “win-back” is to better the overall service and the customer service experience as the focus of both of these areas drive success. During this phone call it seems as though no reasonable script was used and the CSR overstepped reasonable questions prior to processing a cancellation.
What Can Be Done After The Fact?
While monitoring and disciplining representatives that act in a negative manner can discontinue these types of embarrassing situations from recurring, reacting and how a company reacts to these types of situations will be the topic of today’s article. Regardless of your industry, size of your business, or how polite your representatives are, there will always be complaints. Looking at the embarrassing Comcast phone call and their reaction is a good example of how even a small business should react once the damage has been done.
Responding to Negative Publicity
In the case of Comcast, they issued statements about how they “are very embarrassed by the way [their] employee spoke” and that they were contacting the former customer to “personally apologize.” They continued that the representative’s communication was “unacceptable” and that pending an investigation would be taking “quick action,” using the “experience” as a way to reinforce training. Their response was to a video that went viral, so their response had to be made public.
For a smaller company the reaction doesn’t need to be much different, of course the scale may be. If the complaint is intercepted on a social media site, the appropriate apology should be made through that site, and others related to it. Should complaints be fielded through email, then an email response is the right route to take.
How to Write an Apology
Regardless of the exact verbiage chosen, the forum used, or the length of the apology it should always be swiftly executed, sincere and honest. If you do not feel that an apology is warranted, do not send one. Don’t wait to send an apology when you recognize an issue has happened, make sure you address it quickly or it will only continue to escalate. The four elements of every apology should contain: recognition the a problem arose, your business should take responsibility for the problem, remorse should be expressed that the incident happened in the first place and finally compensation of some kind should be made. Obviously if a customer has been lost a discount, credit or other item is out of the question for the last item, so getting creative may be as easy as an incentive to give you another chance such as no setup charges and first month service for free on a more premium package.
No business owner or company ever wants to face problems, but handling problems that do arise properly can save your reputation and possibly win clients back.
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