Don't Go Down With the Ship; Do What's Right for the Company AND the Customer

Don't Go Down With the Ship; Do What's Right for the Company AND the Customer

Common sense must always prevail – especially when it comes to customer service. That said, sometimes companies create strict rules and policies or have a “system” that makes it impossible for an employee to deliver the customer service the company actually wants them to deliver.

Recently, I was sitting next to someone on an airplane who was on his way for a vacation on a cruise ship. We got into a discussion about how some people are so set in their ways that they can’t be creative about solving a customer’s problems. These people are so tied to their process and the way they have always done things that they jeopardize the relationship with their customer, even when common sense should prevail.

My fellow passenger has been on many cruises – and as good the customer service is on most cruises, he said there are always a few of the ship’s employees that are more focused on the system or process than on their customer. He then shared a few stories from his past trip about how some crew members lacked common sense. For some reason, it reminded me of the Titanic and how the eight-member band continued to play, even after the ship started sinking.

I thought that the story of the band playing while the ship was going down might be fictitious, so I did a little research to see if were true. Well, as the story actually goes, the reason for the band continuing to play was that Wallace Hartley, the band’s leader, had asked the band to keep playing because he thought it would help calm the chaos that was ensuing around them.

Maybe that was true, but I’d like to take some creative license and bend this story a bit to create a customer service lesson. My made-up version of the story has nothing to do with keeping the passengers calm. My version is that Mr. Hartley said, “Keep playing. We still have two hours to go in our set.” The passengers had all left to save themselves, but the band played on … as they went down with the ship.

The point is that Mr. Hartley’s band should have stopped playing immediately and tried to save themselves. Common sense should have prevailed. The band should have headed for the life rafts. But, sometimes people just do what they think they are supposed to be doing, without regard for common sense.

So, what does this have to do with customer service? The best companies hire people who are smart, problem-solving, customer-focused people who look for ways to work around having to say NO and come up with ways to say YES. They don’t get stuck on company policy. They work within the rules, but also understand flexibility. They will do what’s right for both the company and the customer. In short, they use common sense, especially when the ship is going down – or a customer is angry.

Shep Hyken
Client Experience
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Shep Hyken is a customer experience expert and the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations. He is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author and ... Click for full bio

Most Read IRIS Articles of the Week (February 20-24)

Most Read IRIS Articles of the Week (February 20-24)

Here’s a look at the Top 11 Most Viewed Articles of the Week on IRIS.xyz, February 20-24, 2017 


Click the headline to read the full article.


Enjoy!



1. Cyborgs Are the Future for Advisors


Becoming cyborgs is the way to go for financial advisers…blending robotics and humans into one organism. You see, I am convinced that robo-advice models will succeed and prosper. — Tony Vidler

2. Building a Better Index With Strategic Beta


With the global economy warming up, but political uncertainty remaining a constant, it’s more important than ever for investors to position their global portfolios to navigate long-term market volatility. That’s where the power of diversification comes in ... — Yazann Romahi

3. Reinvigorate Your Financial Life With Laser Focus on Market Risk and Shortfall Risk


The financial world is noisy and it’s easy to become distracted from your most important long-term goals. One way to cut through the noise is to focus on just the two factors that ultimately determine your approach to everything else in your financial life; namely, Market Risk and Shortfall Risk. — James E. Wilson

4. When it Comes to Your Money, Does the Truth Hurt?


It’s important to admit the truth behind our actions in order to rectify past and future mistakes or regrets. Living in denial only perpetuates making decisions that could potentially lead to financial disaster. — Michael Kay

5. A Skill for Advisors to Master to Keep Clients for Life


There's one key approach that makes you invaluable to your clients so they want to stay with you for the long-term. You have to genuinely be interested in people. — Paul Kingsman

6. Relationships & Money: 6 Stories to Share With Your New Partner


When you start dating, you usually start off sharing stories. Tales of your childhood, your previous relationships and your college days. Those stories help explain to your partner who you are and how you act. — Mary Beth Storjohann

7. Great Leaders Don't Talk About Revenue


It runs counter-intuitive to what we have been led to believe business is all about: make more money and everybody wins, surely? Talk about revenue so that everyone knows what’s important. What’s the problem? — Barry Chandler

8. Trump's Tax Proposals Could Cost You (and What to do About It)


In the wake of President Donald Trump’s stunning upset victory, however, muni investors were forced to readjust their expectations of fiscal policy going forward. Because Trump had campaigned on deep cuts to corporate and personal income taxes, equities soared while munis sold off, ending a near-record 54 weeks of net inflows. — Frank Holmes

9. Sometimes Doing What’s Best for Customers Isn’t Always Going to Make Them Happy


What does it mean to be a customer-centric company? That seems to be the question of the week. It started off with one of our subscribers emailing in the question, followed by two reporters wanting my take on this now-popular phrase for their interviews. — Paul Laughlin

10. Why We Solve the Wrong Problems


Everywhere I look I see organizations and people investing heavily in new initiatives, transformation, and change programs. And in almost every case the goals will never be met. One of the most crucial causes of the failure? The right questions were never asked at the outset. — Paul Taylor

11. Private Equity Head Tapped to “Fix” US Intelligence Apparatus. Why?


Why should we think the head of a private equity company could effectively “fix” US Intelligence? It is not apparent that this individual is even remotely qualified to fix the US intelligence apparatus. — Kathleen McBride​​​​​​​

Douglas Heikkinen
Perspective
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IRIS Founder and Producer of Perspective—a personal look at the industry, and notables who share what they’ve learned, regretted, won, lost and what continues to ... Click for full bio