Are you listening?

A customer alerted a business from which he had just purchased something that he had been charged twice for it, according to his credit card statement. The business had used a card swiper attached to a Smartphone to run the card. When the business owner checked with his staff,  he discovered there had been trouble with the transaction; they had received an error message that said “the charge did not go through” and so, the clerk had swiped it again.

Upon calling the card services company, the business owner was first told to call back on a weekday, rather than a Sunday. (Hmm…shouldn’t most customer service lines be open on Sundays?) The business owner called back on Monday. He was told he would be charged a service fee for refunding the second charge to the customer.

When the owner tried to explain that it seemed the credit card company was at fault because their software delivered the message, “The charge did not go through”, the service rep simply repeated that nothing could be done. “Too bad,” was what the business owner heard in his own mind.  He hung up on that particular customer service rep. The business owner then filed an online complaint about the problem, stating that he was now likely to switch card services companies.

Soon after, the owner received a call from the charge services company asking about his experience. He took a deep breath and restated the problem. This time, the customer service rep listened carefully, asked questions, and offered suggestions as to what might have gone wrong and how to redress the situation. The rep’s tone was calm and conciliatory. By the time the call ended, the business owner felt better about the company and had decided to give them another try.

Are you really listening to your customers, especially when they are having a problem? If you aren’t, you could lose them.  The right approach can repair a relationship and restore good opinions of you. It can also keep that customer from ditching you.

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