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Customer complaint? Own it!

Ever experienced a personal attack on Facebook? Then you know that some people just don’t seem to realize that the person on the receiving end of their rant is a real person, with real feelings.In a completely online environment, it can be hard to connect with 'the other side of the screen' - especially when dealing with a customer complaint.

The lessons of face-to-face customer service still apply online. In fact, they are of vital importance.

I witnessed a perfect example at the dentist (of all places) recently. While I was sitting in the waiting room, another patient came in – only to be told that her appointment wouldn’t be going ahead, as her dentist had been taken ill. “You’re kidding me!” she shouted. “I have high blood pressure! I don’t have time for this!” And the receptionist? She apologised, sincerely. For something that was obviously out of her control. And she kept apologising. For those few minutes, she was the face of the ‘brand’. She didn’t pass the buck, she didn’t blame the customer. She totally owned it.

She might not have impressed the other patient, who eventually stalked out huffing and puffing, but she certainly impressed me. And got me thinking about other customer service representatives I’ve dealt with, and which ones owned it and which ones didn’t – also online.

Service with a snarl