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GPI 031 – Teach your employees how to apologize genuinely and honestly when your customers get screwed, otherwise they will not be customers for long!

When training your employees regardless where they work or their level of customer involvement, teach them how to apologize for the company’s inevitable mistakes.  These employees do not need to be taught how to give the store away, but they do need to learn to be sympathetic and express understanding to a customer who has had a bad experience with your firm.  Someone needs to immediately step in and acknowledge to the customer his treatment was wrong and the situation will be corrected.

Teach your employee not to delay or act indifferent unless he does not want to see the customer again.  When an unfortunate event occurs to an innocent customer, an apology or sympathetic ear should be the very first thing the customer receives from your firm regardless of the employee or department.  (i.e.  Late shipments, wrong product, broken items, overcharges on invoices, credit cards erroneously charged twice, delays in waiting for customer help, products repaired incorrectly).  Most of the public understands that mistakes happen.  Therefore, most of the time a simple heartfelt apology needs to be given immediately to correct the problem.  In most cases, this kind gesture will be accepted and appreciated by the consumer or buyer.  The problem stems from the firm’s employees who do not recognize customer problems and as a result do nothing to mend the relationship.  If this is not taught, it will most likely not happen automatically.  Your firm deserves what it gets, depending on your attention to these events.

Everyone knows mistakes are made; it is when an obvious error has been made and no one owns up to it that infuriates your ex-customer.  The one thing you must be absolutely sure of is the ability of your employees to show remorse and act apologetic.  To ensure this, make each of your employees practice a brief but honest apology directly to you in training so they are comfortable apologizing and are sincere.  Practiced once or twice – with your feedback, it will not feel strange or awkward to the new employee.  Find out what the employee intends to say.  It needs to be practiced and observed and then rewarded with approval and a nod from their supervisor or trainer that this is the behavior desired by the company.

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