Service Excellence Is Not for Cowards

June 18, 2007
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+

HERSHEY, Pa. - Steve Coscia said there is definitely a correlation between customer retention and proactive customer service behavior. The speaker at the National Association of Oil Heat Service Managers’ (NAOHSM) annual meeting in Hershey, Pa., had a decades-old study to back up his statement. He said that a 1974-79 study found that effective complaint handling and a complaint prevention system results in retention of customers, increased revenue, and improved quality and efficiency.

Coscia, a customer service consultant with Coscia Communications Inc., noted that even when businesses couldn’t resolve a complaint, just being available to listen to a complaint can double the customer retention rate. “When customers get emotionally upset, it presents an opportunity,” he said.

“And if you don’t follow-up with them, they will begin to form their own conclusions, which could be negative.”

Part of an effective follow-up is face-to-face communication, according to Coscia. He has found that during face-to-face communication, people are judged by their body language 55 percent of the time, as opposed to telephone communication where people are judged by their tone of voice 82 percent of the time. Since many follow-ups are done via the telephone, Coscia offered some suggestions.

“Pause, breath, and think rationally,” he said. “Listen attentively and be prepared to say what you can do, not what you can’t do.”

He added that getting angry with a customer is a choice and “you don’t have to gravitate to anger or frustration.”

Coscia said that the cost of customer retention is usually free if an employee is fearless, courteous, smiling, and has a good attitude. He added that good customer relations begin with empathy and said, “When someone is ranting and telling their story, your job is to interject empathy. Let them tell their story. Let them reach the top of their venting hill.”

Being empathetic is also a courteous behavior that keeps customers coming back. Coscia said that most Americans “think that lack of courtesy is a problem that is getting worse. This could be an opportunity for you.”

By showing courtesy, a business shows that its employees listen to customers, and not just hear what they want to hear from them. Coscia said that listening opens up opportunities for increased sales, customer testimonials, referral opportunities, learning opportunities, training opportunities, and relationship opportunities.

He also said that asking questions of customers is one more way to be courageous. Coscia said, “Asking questions - even if they are dumb - is better than having to correct dumb mistakes.”

For more information, visit www.hvaccustomerservice.com.

Publication date: 06/18/2007

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to The NEWS Magazine

Recent Articles by John Hall

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

2014 Energy Efficiency Forum

Highlights from the 25th annual Energy Efficiency Forum in Washington, D.C.

Podcasts

NEWSMakers: Mark Satterfield

Mark Satterfield, founder and CEO of Gentle Rain Marketing Inc. and author of “The One Week Marketing Plan” talks about his book and the importance of HVAC blogging. Posted on Sept. 19.

More Podcasts

ACHRNEWS

NEWS 09-15-14 cover

2014 September 15

Check out the weekly edition of The NEWS today!

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Venting R-22

The NEWS reported that a man received prison time for venting R-22. Should EPA step up enforcement?
View Results Poll Archive

HVACR INDUSTRY STORE

plumbing-hvac.gif
2014 National Plumbing & HVAC Estimator

Every plumbing and HVAC estimator can use the cost estimates in this practical manual!

More Products

Clear Seas Research

 

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications, Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

DON'T MISS A THING

Magazine image
 
Register today for complete access to ACHRNews.com. Get full access to the latest features, Extra Edition, and more.

STAY CONNECTED

facebook icontwitter iconyoutube iconLinkedIn i con