Last month, I phoned an Atlanta 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 simply said that she was unable to help and she suggested I double check with the conference host.
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, so I called the hotel again.
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. The cumulative effect of numerous service professionals who lack the persistence 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.
When customers call for help, a service professional must understand that it isn’t their fault, but it is their responsibility and they must take ownership. Tenacity is a world-class behavior that must be enforced by management.