On a recent trip, my family and I flew Delta airlines. After everyone had boarded the plane, we sat and waited for almost an hour before the plane moved.
What was the problem?
I don’t know. We were never informed of the cause of the delay.
While we waited, the flight attendant passed out water bottles. This was a nice gesture, but they didn’t come with an explanation of the delay.
When problems arise and customers are inconvenienced, you need to explain the situation. Be sure to include details:
- what is happening?
- when will it be fixed?
- who is working on the problem?
- what do you predict the outcome will be?
Once the situation is explained, you can outline options the customers have. In our airplane example, it would have been nice to announce that passengers could stand up and stretch, use the lavatory, or at least loosen their seat belt.
If your customers are encountering problems, you need to give them options that:
- ease the pain
- make them comfortable with waiting for a resolution
- keep them from getting angry
Only after explanations and options have been given is it appropriate to bribe customers. Bribes can go hand-in-hand with the other steps but should never stand alone.
Reward customers for their patience with some kind of perk. My airline example used water bottles. You can give customers discounts, free products, or anything else they wouldn’t normally get. These entitlements don’t have to be huge to make a difference. Your simple acknowledgment of customer’s inconvenience by giving some type of peace offering will build goodwill.