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Going The Extra Mile…

Going the Extra Mile…

Last month, I phoned a hotel to verify my room reservation.  I was speaking at a national trade conference and the host had made the hotel accommodations.  Since I had materials to ship in advance, my intent was to verify the check-in date so that my shipment would be waiting when I arrived.

My phone call to the hotel’s reservation agent was alarming because she was unable to find a room under my name.  I explained to the agent that my host had made the reservation.  The agent’s robotic and monotone voice did not instill my confidence in her ability.  The robot said that she was unable (or unwilling) to help and she suggested I double check with the conference host.  She successfully made herself unaccountable for the problem’s resolution.

My phone call to the hotel’s reservation agent was alarming because she was unable to find a room under my name.

This disappointment gave me that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach because the conference was just days away and I knew the conference host was up to his neck in details, but I needed a resolution.

Not wanting to be an added drain on his last-minute conference preparations, I reluctantly phoned the conference host and politely verified that a hotel room had been reserved for me.  His positive answer reassured me that everything was okay.

I called the hotel again.

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A different reservation agent answered the phone when I called, and again their records did not include my hotel reservation.  My disappointment was audible and the reservation agent asked me to be patient why she dug a little deeper.

“Perhaps your name is misspelled in our system,” she suggested, as she searched for a different variation of “Coscia.” She found my room reservation and corrected the misspelling.

My relief was apparent to the reservation agent and I thanked her profusely for going the extra mile.

The extra tenacity that she demonstrated was what made the difference in both problem resolution and customer satisfaction.

By definition, tenacity means persistent determination and firmness of purpose.  It’s a skill that is honed and developed over time and successful service professionals understand its importance when serving customers.  Service cultures with a poor attitude often lack tenacity.  The cumulative effect of numerous service professionals who lack the persuasiveness to stick with problems through to the end, results in a culture of mediocrity in which problems go unresolved, customers remain unsatisfied, and blame gets shifted to someone else within a company.

By definition, tenacity means persistent determination and firmness of purpose.

When service professionals don’t take responsibility and ownership for the problem at hand then they force the unresolved problem to be escalated to a manager or to another coworker who may or may not be more tenacious.

Either outcome is a waste of time and resources, and should have been handled correctly the first time. When customers call for help, the service professional must understand that it isn’t their fault, but it is their responsibility and they must take ownership.

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Steve Coscia

The road from professional musician to thirty-year customer service veteran to best-selling author and speaker is not a typical career path, but Steve Coscia may have started a new trend.

Coscia is one of the most widely published and quoted authorities in the customer service industry. He has published more than 200 articles, four books and a series of training DVDs. His college curriculum is taught at institutions of higher learning throughout the United States and Canada.

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