Hi everyone, before we return to our regularly scheduled finance & investments programming, we decided to share with you some true-life stories of when we weren’t at our best with regard to Customer Service…and how we improved!
A Firstline Securities Limited Blog by: Winston Gordon
Let’s face it. Any company worth its salt would agree that their customers all deserve exceptional service. These are the companies that invest (be it time and/or funds) in training their staff, and in refining their product/service offering, so that customer satisfaction can be attained.
However, despite our best efforts, we are all fallible and fall short from time to time. We at Firstline recently conducted an in-house survey of our “not-so-good-Customer Service moments”
Below are 5 instances of our Slip-ups, but more importantly, our ‘Fixes’:
1/ The Slip-Up: There was once an interaction between an employee and a customer whom the employee knew well. One day the customer made a request, which, to the employee, seemed weird. Before responding to the request, the employee made (what he believed to be) a harmless joke. Needless to say the customer did not find the joke humorous in the least and was offended.
The Fix: We learnt firstly that although the customer may be someone with whom we are familiar, it is important to remain professional, as well as retain the same standard of courtesy and care for their requests as you would for a client you don’t know as well. Added to this, when it comes to jokes, we must keep in mind that everyone has a different personality: what may not offend one person, can certainly upset another. Lastly, we should always be prepared for such instances where damage control, by way of diffusing a potentially uncomfortable situation, is needed.
2/ The Slip-Up: There was this client who always seemed to be having a bad day when she visited. Everyone agreed that she made it difficult to be our usual pleasant selves. So, when she would come by, employees would do their utmost to deal with her as quickly and as efficiently as possible, so that she would leave – stat! Needless to say, she was never a customer anyone would want to go the extra mile for. One day, after noting how we had interacted with another client, she said that we had “favourites”. We felt really bad that our feelings had manifested into poor customer service. We were thinking she was the bad one but it turned out…we were? None of us were prepared for that type of philosophical debate.
The Fix: Always, always be the bigger person. In fact, we stand to provide exceptional customer service if we strive to be at our 100% no matter the customer. We know it can be difficult, particularly with the sourest of sours. But in business, we are called upon to demonstrate as much compassion and patience as we can in an effort to treat all customers equally and with the kindness they deserve.
3/ The Slip-Up: “There was a customer who would do ‘a million’ transactions: one…by…one…Each time the employee who dealt with him would assume he was finished, make steps to wrap up, then the customer would announce he had another transaction; and another; and another…On some occasions, we have let our frustration show.
The Fix: From the onset ask the customer how you can help, and what exactly they need to get done so that you manage your own expectations. Patience is key; and what we’ve learnt is that some clients look forward to having chats and extending their time with us. In instances like that, we must live in the moment and focus fully on the client without having our minds wander to what’s next on our agenda.
4/ The Slip-Up: “Now, we’re really proud of our client statements. We think they’re pretty fancy and after we update them (coming soon!) they’re going to be even fancier. Some time ago a client queried something that was in their statement. We thought the language written in the statement to be clear, however the content was still misinterpreted by the client. What followed was a series of back and forth correspondence between us and the client. In the end, the client was able to understand the statement, but only after we re-phrased and re-formatted some aspects of the statement.”
The Fix: All client-related documents, especially those of a highly technical nature, should be clear and customer-friendly, as opposed to ‘Firstline-friendly.” We must also be cognizant of the fact that many of our clients do not have finance or investment related backgrounds (that’s why they come to us!) and as a result we now strive to make our communication as comprehensible and ‘plain English’ as possible for everyone.
5/ The Slip-Up: “Someone on this very mailing list recently informed us that their name was incorrectly spelt.”
The Fix: We’ve undertaken to review all the names in our database to be sure they match customer identification and going forward, we would do our best to be vigilant when inputting new information. Prior to this, a prompt, heartfelt apology was sent to the client…along with the correct spelling of her name. What’s in a name? A lot. People’s identities are often intrinsically wrapped up in their names. It shows a lack of care, attention and respect when it’s mis-spelt or mis-pronounced. We never want to be the people getting it wrong.
As companies we should continuously seeking to improve our service. Recognition of one’s mistakes is the first step. Thereafter, it’s integral to resolve any issues in as timely, professionally and as politely a manner possible. Once you commit to this, you would soon discover that your customers’ goodwill and loyalty will grow. Best of luck to you!
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for our analysis of the
MPC Caribbean Clean Energy Limited IPO…Coming Tomorrow!