Be insistent.

Sorry for the late post today. On Thursday, I am not usually around my computer that has Windows Live Writer until later in the day. Today was particularly hectic, so that is why the post is a bit later than usual. Now, to the post.

Do you know what it means to be insistent in customer service? Insistent isn’t really a good word to use in connection with customer service, but it is something that customer service representatives should have be every now and then.

This evening I went out to dinner to a very casual, local restaurant. I ordered a soup something to eat (fried clams – I know they aren’t good for me, but they are quite good to eat) and a little while later the waitress brought the food out to my table. I tried the clams and they weren’t very good – I think they were too greasy, but I’m not sure. I ate my soup and moved the clams over to the side of the table.

When I finished the soup, the waitress came by and saw I hadn’t eaten too much of the clams. She asked me if they were okay and I said I wasn’t that hungry. She assured me that if I didn’t like them, she could take them off the bill. After a few seconds, she managed to get my opinion (too greasy) out of me and again offered to take it off of the bill. I said it was up to her. The bill came and the clams were not on there. I was impressed.

This is where being insistent is important. If you even doubt a customer’s satisfaction, ask some questions and try and find out why they aren’t happy. Then, suggest a solution. If you are confident it is the right solution (i. e. taking the item off the bill), try and insist it. This works well in some situations and not in others, so use your best judgement.

Try and use the words “I insist” and then something like “We want you to be delighted by our food. If you aren’t delighted, I insist on taking the item off the bill.” That makes it a bit more genuine than the operating procedure of “Customer Unhappy w/ Item = Take off the bill.” You want customers to know that you care and you are insisting because your company cares about quality and how it does things.

At dinner today, the waitress was appropriately persistent. There is a fine line between being persistent and rude. That is where you have to use your best judgement (and for managers: to trust your employees’ judgement) in dealing with such situations.

Whatever you do, don’t ignore something you think is wrong. If you think there is a problem, ask the customer. If it seems like there is (even when they aren’t telling you directly), you can ask a few more questions to find out more.

2 Responses to “Be insistent.”

  1. Meikah Delid said:

    Jan 26, 07 at 4:45 am

    I’m impressed with the waitress, too. I say, she’ very perceptive of her customers’ feelings. This very well qualifies for the CSE of the Week, too. I will add this to your T-Mobile experience, Doug. You’re on on Feb.2, ok? 🙂 Keep at it!

  2. KermitFan said:

    Jan 26, 07 at 5:52 pm

    I am also impressed by your story of the waitress & the clams. It is nice to know that there are still people out there that care about the customer experience — especially in a restaurant setting. In fact, last week, I had a great customer experience at Bucca di Beppo. I was in charge of dinner for ~18 of my coworkers and had been coordinating with the waiter on which food to serve, etc. I was particularly looking forward to the eggplant parmesean, and made sure that there was room on my plate for this dish. However, the eggplant never made it down to my side of the table. In fact, it never made it to the table. I was disappointed, but took it in stride. When the bill came (sans the eggplant as well), my fabulous waiter informed me that he had a special to go box prepared for me. Talk about good customer service — he sent me home with a special batch of eggplant parm and a smile on my face. All because he was insistent in his service.