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How to Ensure You Never Have an Angry Customer Here are four customer management tips in the services sector to ensure there are more handshakes and smiles rather than angry online rants.

By Anil Punjabi

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For an entrepreneur, there is nothing as scary as an angry customer. In today's world of social media, when she has the tool to spread the negative word, the scenario is positively terrifying.

At the same time, businesses depend heavily on word-of-mouth, especially in the services sector such as travel and hospitality. On the other hand, getting recognized for your good work and seeing the customer return again and again is what every entrepreneur dreams of.

Here are four customer management tips in the services sector to ensure there are more handshakes and smiles rather than angry online rants.

Be transparent:

Your customer is your bread and butter. If she leaves unhappy, you have failed, and I feel and you haven't earned money, even if monetary transaction has taken place. To ensure you have a happy customer, be transparent in your dealing.

Don't glean over the fine print and details about "Terms and conditions apply". When it comes to the financial bit, be doubly sure and spell out the details about the price, your fee, the mode of payment, and so on. You aren't selling them a product with 33 per cent extra, or a one-plus-one scheme. You are giving them a service – make sure it is exemplary.

Don't exaggerate:

It's difficult to not over-promise while trying to seal a deal, but refrain yourself. That's not to say don't emphasize all that you are giving your customer. Make as clever a sales pitch as you can, but don't assure the customer of things that you can't give her. For instance, if the customer service isn't open on Sundays, don't keep saying you are reachable 24x7. Apologizing for their bad experience or trying to make up for their disappointment later doesn't work most of the time. So ensure you get it right the first time round.

The human touch:

In the services sector, the customer expects – nay demands – human interaction. Automated human voices, standard replies through the customer service department hardly help your cause. Companies in banking, insurance, travel, and hospitality industry are fast realizing that even while following processes, they need to personalize the interaction to make it a memorable one.

This becomes especially crucial in today's competitive market where how you offer is often more important than what you have to offer.

Be reachable:

Many a time, the counter staff or the front-office executive doesn't have a solution for the customer's problem, or has to take a decision for which he needs his senior's approval. Management needs to ensure it is approachable for times like these. The "You could have called me" and "You could have done this" doesn't help with the situation, and neither does it make the executive feel he can put his trust in you.

(As told to Prerna Raturi)

Anil Punjabi

Director, Ar-Es Travels

Anil Punjabi is Director, Ar-Es Travels, Kolkata. He is also chairman, eastern region, Travel Agents Federation of India; and head, tourism, Bengal Chamber of Commerce.
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