Using Rewards Instead of Comps for Better Customer Support
No matter how hard we try, we just can’t please everyone. Every business experiences customer complaints, whether it’s their fault or not. Learning how to satisfy a disgruntled client with a solution that also benefits the business is a high level customer service strategy, and is easily done with the right rewards programs.
We had a client come in who was double booked. Our staff mistakenly added their appointment for the day following the one they requested, so when they showed up and another client was already checked in, they were justifiably upset. We attempted to make space, but the earliest availability, without interfering with the other appointments, was a couple hours later. This was not acceptable to our client who demanded we “make them whole”. Yes, those were the words they chose, so you can imagine this was a sensitive situation.
Before we get to how we handled the solution with rewards, it is important to mention operational excellence. Situations like these happen. High level customer support also happens. However, if the issue that caused the problem is not resolved, all the client satisfying solutions in the world will not overcome the disappointment of being burned twice. Developing and maintaining operational excellence is the backbone of a high level customer service experience.
To fulfill our need for operational excellence, we created a new protocol for mistake-free appointment setting. After creating the reservations, all the details would be read back to the client from the calendar itself, and not just from memory. For example, “Mrs. Davis, we have you booked for a 1-hour float on Thursday, May 15th at 5pm”. By reading it from the calendar on screen, we avoided the issue of confirming an appointment that was mistakenly added to the wrong day. This proved its value many times over when we caught mistakes before ending the call.
Now that we have established that great customer service is built on top of operational excellence, we can get into using rewards for delighting clients who have complained.
Connect to Client Experience
The first thing we did was connect to the client experience. We used our G.R.E.A.T. customer service approach which includes greeting the client, restating the complaint, expressing value in their perspective, addressing the issue, and providing tips for making the best of the situation.
We thanked them for coming in and used our own words to describe how frustrating it must be for the client to expect to have an appointment, schedule their day around it, and come in to find we messed up their reservation. It can be hard to admit a mistake, but when it comes to creating a bond with the client, nothing else will set the stage for flipping their negative experience into a positive one. We then addressed the issue by offering a sizable discount on their next visit if they came within the next 30 days. In our case, we like to delight, so we offered them half off their next timely visit. They agreed to this solution.
Reward That Complaint
One of the benefits to RewardMore is the ability to reward each visit. This meant that we could simply add the client to the rewards program at level 5, which was our half-off level. We then let them know that they will receive a message reminding them of the date to return by. We ended the process with the tip that they could simply use the booking link in the reminder to schedule the appointment easily so that they received their discount.
Not only did this solve the issue of the dissatisfied client, they turned into a repeat visit client who promoted us to their friends. I spoke with them some time later and they shared with me that how we handled the situation was the best customer service they have ever received at a retail business.
Using rewards for handling complaints is another effective way of creating a high level client experience. Complaints don’t have to be a drain on your business, they can be used to flip a negative emotion into a positive one and create a strong emotional bond between your clients and your brand which is the surest way to increasing repeat visits and achieving the success.