A pizza-loving friend of ours tried every brand of roasted vegetable pizza he could find on the market. After months of testing, he decided that one company’s “Roasted Vegetable & Goat Cheese Flatbread Pizza” was the best—except he could never seem to bake it correctly. It either came out overdone on the edges or underdone in the middle. He followed the instructions to the letter. He tested his oven’s temperature. He bought the pizza at different stores. It just didn’t come out right.

Because he loved the pizza so much, he contacted the company, asking them to tell him how best to prepare the pizza. A month later, he received a personal letter from the company, explaining their manufacturing and testing process in detail and hoping he could continue to buy their products. What they didn’t do was apologize or tell him how to cook the pizza. 

If a customer takes the trouble to contact you and point out something about your product or service, don’t justify, rationalize, or explain—even if you think they’re wrong! If possible, reward them with a coupon, pen or some other freebie to thank them for taking the time to contact you. It’s a small price to pay someone who’s willing to act as a one-person focus group.  These are the types of things that can be built into an employee training program and, once that’s done, have reviewed through a customer service evaluation program such as that offered by Customer Perspectives.