By Christy Brewer
Okay, so we all took a newly developed training course. Some of us grumbled. Even if the recent communication training seemed like it was filled with stuff we should already know, the class did what it set out to do – it got me looking out for good stuff. At first blush, it seemed like this communication class was a course on “please and thank you.” [Cue my six-year-old singing the song he learned in preschool.] However, it is becoming clearer some people just don’t understand the difference between pretending you care and really caring about the service you provide.
The difference becomes apparent as we studied a formula for regaining control of an emotional conversation.
Matt piped in with a story about calling a customer service line for help, only to be interrupted every 10 seconds with a cold, “I understand.” It was clear that the person on the other end of the line was told, “Convey your empathy by stating something that indicates that you understand their problem.”
It’s nice to say the words, but it really falls flat when you don’t mean them. Call centers follow scripts. Customer service starts with a script, but changes to fit the situation. Mark Hurst points out that hospitality is a concept that takes customer service one step further, building a relationship with your customer or client.
Virginia Miracle demonstrates the difference when she received an e-mail from Kimpton Properties in response to negative feedback. Virginia did not receive an automated response. The response directly addresses every concern she noted, and specifically identifies how they will fix what they can, and sincerely apologizing for not being able to fix the sucky gym.
Kimpton Properties deserves high praise for being active listeners, and for actively responding. Matt should stay at a Kimpton hotel. Maybe one day he can stay his way into the Kimpton Inner Circle, get the CEO’s phone number, and provide all the feedback he wants.