When I teach Customer Service classes, I always talk about the 4 A’s and one of the A’s is apologize. People often get defensive when I say apologize because they feel they shouldn’t have to apologize if they didn’t do anything wrong. In customer service, particularly in the service industry apologizing is not for bad service, unless of course there was bad service, it’s about apologizing for their troubles, or their inconvenience.
We are here to provide a service. Everyone has a job to do. They need to be able to use the equipment and count on it to work. Whether we are an ISO or part of the hospital support team, we are supposed to make their job easier so they can focus on the patients. So when that doesn’t happen, for any reason, we want to make sure we are compassionate. Nurses, doctors, lab techs, etc. have hard jobs. They’re dealing directly with the patients and they are counting on you to help. So when they need to vent because something didn’t go right, don’t take it personally. Look at it from their point of view and think, how can I help?
A few other things to remember when apologizing:
Don’t blame others. Nurses and doctors want your help in finding a solution. They don’t want to hear excuses. Focus on the solution rather than defending yourself. Frankly they don’t care whose fault it is. You are there, and they need you to help to help them.
Don’t bash your team. Apologizing does not imply that your team or company did something wrong either. Try to understand what the problem is so you can go back privately to your team to brainstorm solutions for improvement, but when you apologize, again it’s about their inconvenience, not because your team stinks. Your job is not to be the savior from the horrible department or company you work for. Your job is to build up your customer service reputation. So give your team honest feedback about what you heard, but make it about providing better service, not blaming.
Take ownership of the problem. Even if you are not the right person to fix the issue or the one who messed up, let the customer know that you going to get the answer for them or get them the person is who will get the answer for them. And then make a warm transition. Leave the customer knowing that you will stick with them until you solve the issue or get them to someone else who will.
Thoughts…….. Contact me at abbe@TECResourceCenter.com
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