Yesterday I waited three hours for a doctor’s office to call me back with information necessary to respond to an insurance company. It then took another two hours to get the situation straight with the different departments within the insurance company to ensure I was properly billed. I felt like a rag doll being thrown from one department rep to another department rep and had to re-explain my situation each time. Was I angry by the end of the day, you bet!

How unlike this compared to my situation with American Express. Noticing an unrecognizable charge, I called and the phone was answered quickly and by a live human being. She was very personable and commented on my area code and asked how the weather was in my town of Orlando. She then proceeded to ask for my concern and stated that she was certain she would be able to help me. My blood pressure relaxed immediately.

Competently and efficiently, the rep was able to diagnose the questionable charge, identify its origin, and stated the plan of action she would take. Within 5 minutes, the situation was handled and she had taken charge. The rep completed the call with a voice of confidence and thanked me for being a valued customer.

Being competent in her job, being available and timely, and treating me as a valued customer was all it took to reinforce my loyalty to American Express. If you want to NOT make a customer angry, make sure you know your job, be responsive, and look through the lens of your customer and treat them the way you would want to be treated if you were in that situation. Everyone in an organization should know how their process works so they can send customers to the proper person or department if it’s outside the one they work. This requires training, but if you can keep one customer from getting angry with your organization, it will be worth the cost. Set standards of being available and responsive to customers both internal and external. And, finally, set expectations on how to treat others and hold people accountable to these expectations.

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