Make a bad situation right.

I found myself citing one of my favorite customer service quotes at least once a week. The quote is “the road to success is paved with well handled mistakes” and I think it summarizes and important aspect of customer service.

I recently sent a complaint letter to a Fortune 500 company I had a problem with not that long ago. I just sent the letter yesterday so I’m not expecting to hear back anytime soon, but their response will show a lot about how they think of their customers and their customer service. If a company gets a complaint letter and dismisses it, that doesn’t reflect well upon the company. If they respond to it and make an effort to make a bad situation right, it tends to show they are committed to customer satisfaction.

When you get a complaint letter, how do you handle it? The companies that handle complaints really well seem to have some sort of formal process. They have someone empowered to handle and respond to complaints. The person has good customer service skills and gets in touch with customers and helps them with what they need. This helps add some accountability to the process and lets customers know that someone at the company cares about them.

There is data out there that says that a well handled mistake actually results in a happier customer than if nothing went wrong in the first place. Essentially, the act of the company making a bad situation right improves that customer’s overall satisfaction. That’s the power of making a bad situation right.