By Glen Ervin:
If there’s one thing that a few decades in the DJ biz have taught me, it’s this: When the people paying you have a complaint you can’t just put on your headphones and look busy. You have to address it. And not only address it, but spin that sucker into 24k customer-satisfaction gold.
I didn’t always know how to do that.
There was a time when my go-to response, as embarrassing as it is to admit, was to attempt to convince the complainer they were wrong: My music selection was perfectly on target; the dance floor was full all night; there’s no way bar sales were slow. 20/20 hindsight shows that of course the club manager was right; I hadn’t yet learned to rotate a floor and sell the booze that paid my salary.
Lesson learned: Before you offer up your best defense (and for the record, NEVER offer up your best defense), try this: Listen carefully to what they have to say and let them finish. Begin by repeating back what you’ve heard to show that you’ve listened. You’ll quickly find you’re dealing with a more receptive critic and one step closer to a mutually satisfying solution.
This requires a lot more discipline that most think; it is not an easy thing to sit silently through a tirade. And harder still not to respond in kind. Don’t.
As I went from booth to buck-stops-here businessman, the mistakes didn’t exactly stop. I know firsthand how easy it is to get into the habit of firing off quick fixes as we power through our bloated inboxes each day. And felt firsthand the repercussions as my referral rate nose-dived.
Lesson learned: If you don’t completely understand the problem you can’t completely solve the problem (so don’t try). Better to begin with “Can you help me understand this a bit better?” and finish with “What can I do to make this right for you?” than offer a solution that doesn’t satisfy.
Most of the time, your customers aren’t telling you everything.
That’s why it’s so important to ask.
Complaints happen. And when they do it’s never enough to simply address a customer’s concerns. If they’re frustrated or angry as a result of your service – even if you feel you’ve done nothing to warrant it — the most effective response is the most simple and direct: Apologize. Simply say “I’m sorry about that.”
Lesson learned: Only after you take a ‘my bad’ for the team and show an eagerness to do right by them can you begin to bridge the gap between a dissatisfied customer and an active promoter of your business.
Listen. Ask questions. Dig deeper. Learn what you can do to be truly great.
And then do it.
After being turned out to pasture following a 16-year club residency, Glen Ervin finds himself gainfully employed as Promo Only sales manager, media consultant and staff writer.