In Customer Service Does the Second Impression Count as Much?? Sir Richard Branson Says Yes!!

Sir Richard BransonSir Richard Branson (of Virgin) says that although the first impression counts in customer service, so does the second one — and the second one is when the customer is calling his company because of a problem!

Are your staff trained to handle issues especially when things don’t go as planned? I’ve worked with airports for many years and, as a former flight crew member, know that this environment is prone to things going wrong. There are just too many different companies involved in making an airplane park, pull up to a gate, unload, load and then soar off again. Sometimes 20 different stakeholders with competing agendas must cooperate to make it happen. Unfortunately, the customer always gets the brunt of the service breakdown, regardless of who caused it.

Whether the issues are mechanical problems, baggage belts breaking, power outages, bad weather, shortage of supplies or cost-cutting measures – everyone gets grumpy, both employees and customers. The more people feel they can’t do anything about things, the more frustrated everyone becomes — and believe me, the customer won’t come back. How an employee effectively and positively handles the day-to-day “oops” (regardless of who caused it) always leaves a better impression than if everything had worked as planned. This is called the Second Impression that a customer has of your company and if it is handled well – they give your organization an instant testimonial.

How Does a Company Create the Wow Factor?
Companies come to me all the time asking, “How do we get our staff to create magic moments, go the extra mile, WOW them, or – as said in a famous training video – Give em the Pickle™.

One of the best ways to create this magic is to get your employees focused on making a great Second Impression by finding “3rd ways” to solve the problem. Even if you can’t wave a magic wand to make it happen, there is always something else that can be done.

Take airline delays for example: I witnessed one smart customer service airline employee make an announcement by asking how many people “wished they had more time to read?” (It was done with fun in mind and to try to change the mood of the delay). He then simply said that this delay gave them the gift of having more time to read, and then he let them know the book store was just down from their gate (he created a third way to solve the problem). He also mentioned that the newsstand had Nicorette™ gum for those who could not get out of the airport for a cigarette. The customers actually complied and went to the stores, and I’m sure the retailer was very happy.

How are your staff handling the oops situations? Do they know how not to say “No” to a customer; but always think “what else” or “what other options” could I suggest with this predicament? Can your staff think creatively?. This is a culture that can be taught to your employees, and there are many training techniques that can be used to create this culture.

If you’d like more information on how to create a great Second Impression or to bring the “I Can Fix That” keynote to your upcoming meeting or conference, contact me today:

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