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A Customer Complaint is a Gold Brick

Have you ever been on the other end of an irate customer? Are your employees trained to handle conflicts consistently?

As a CEO of two national companies, I was acutely aware of what business my company was in. We were in the customer business. That's right-the customer business, first and foremost. When you understand this concept, you can build your entire organization around effectively meeting the needs and wants of your customers. Whether you are a department manager, a CEO or an individual contributor, you can simplify what you do every day by adopting the following concept: you are either an employee who serves the customer or an employee who serves those who serves the customer. It's that simple. Several months ago I shared with you how we put "This is Customer Money" as a red overprint on the pay stub of our paycheck. It served to remind our employees every two weeks that this money is always at risk and if we don't service our customers-SOMEONE ELSE WILL! Is this mentality woven into the culture of your company?

It is critical to understand that not everyone can win a customer, but anyone can lose one. Every day, customers call into our companies and speak directly with "an employee who serves those who serve the customer." These are situations that Butler Street calls a "moment of truth." A moment of truth is any interaction whereby the customer has an opportunity to form an opinion of us. One thing is for certain, there will be moments of truth where irate customers will call into your company and "vent" to employees. Answer this: Is everyone in your company trained to handle the irate customer?

The best process we have found for handling the irate customer is a process known as BLAST-Believe-Listen-Apologize-Satisfy-Thank. Five simple steps to resolving a conflict w

ith a customer. BLAST will help you keep the peace and shine in that "moment of truth." It is a simple and effective step-by-step method for righting a wrong.

The key to implementing this process, is the fundamental understanding that a complaint should be considered a gold brick. That is, the customer has engaged you in dialogue rather than just moving the business to some other company. What started as a challenge has now become an opportunity to give them your best! Are you up to the task?

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