Pretend it’s Grandma

If you want to improve the customer service of your business, school, or college, here’s a good way to treat the occasional unhappy customer.  Pretend it’s your grandma who’s unhappy.

I’ve had a frustrating experience with an editing service recently, and many of their responses to my problems included phrases like, “We apologize for any inconvenience,” and “Our policy is…”  Most of those exchanges made me feel worse—not better—about the errors they overlooked in the document I paid them to proofread (and showed that “100% satisfaction guaranteed” is a trite phrase, too.)

If your grandma paid you for a service and was unhappy with the outcome, how would you handle it?  Would you quote your policy or tell her that you “regret any inconvenience this may have caused”?  Would you argue with her and try to prove that her expectations were somehow wrong?  Probably not.  You’d feel genuinely bad that she was upset, you’d apologize sincerely, and if you could do anything within reason to make her happy, you’d do it.

Just care about your customers and try to treat them well.  Pretending it’s Grandma will work better than any policy will.