Handling Customer Service Emergencies

The dinner party was super important because of the particular guests invited.  It was one-fifth entertainment, one-fifth showcase, and at least five-fifths big-deal sales opportunity!  The caterer had delivered over-the-top hors-d’oeuvres, the contracted chef had prepared a perfect meal, and the bottles of white wine were perfectly chilled.  Then, disaster struck!

The host opened the first bottle of wine only to discover it tasted like vinegar.  A second, third and fourth reserve bottles were all equally unfit to drink.  The dinner party would not have the intended ambiance and style without spirits.  But, as luck would have it, the wine shop owner was famous for his pull-rabbits-out-of-a-hat service.

“Matt,” pleaded the party host, “I have a major problem.”  Matt owned the neighborhood wine store.  After a brief conversation, Matt swung into action.  He called two of his best wine customers whom he knew lived near the party host and promised to replace their bottles of wine delivered to their desperate neighbor plus a bottle on the house.  Within fifteen minutes of the wine emergency call, the dinner party was back on track.

Research has repeatedly shown that customers who have an issue with a provider that is quickly and effectively resolved are more loyal than before the incident.  Great service providers know this and like firefighters–when there is no blaze to extinguish they practice “what ifs” as they prepare for emergency calls.  What is your service SOS plan?  Do your customers have a way to reach you quickly anytime (24 x 7 x 365) should they have a service emergency?  Are your frontline employees prepared to effectively handle that “panicked call” from a customer?  When customers send a service SOS they do not intend it to be heard as “same old stuff” and the upside of effectively resolving their issue is BIG!

© Chip Bell Group, 2023.  Courtesy of John R. Patterson (www.johnrpatterson.com).  Permission is given to download and distribute this article as long as it contains this copyright notice.