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Just stop it!

By Shep Hyken

There’s an old joke that goes something like this: A guy goes to the doctor. He raises his arm and complains, “It hurts when I do this.” The doc says, “Then don’t do that.”

In other words, “Stop it!”

That reminds me of a very funny video I saw on YouTube that features comedian Bob Newhart. It’s called “Stop It!”. In the video, Bob Newhart is a therapist and his patient is complaining about a problem she is having. She has a fear of being buried alive in a box. Remember, this is a comedy sketch. His solution is to tell her, “Stop it!”

Customer service is the same way. In some of the workshops we present on service, there is an exercise where we ask the audience members to come up with the most common complaints they hear from customers. We also ask them how often these complaints occur. Sometimes I’m amazed when the response is every day – even multiple times throughout the day. That’s when I share the solution. I look at the audience and state, “I have a solution to this problem. Are you ready?” I then pause for dramatic effect and say, “Stop it!”

That gets a laugh from the audience. They know it’s a joke. If it were that simple, they would have already stopped doing whatever was causing the problem. But, it’s a great set up for the conversation on how to eliminate or at least mitigate this problem that causes customers to complain so often.

How many times do we upset a customer with the same processes, policies or rules? If you are hearing the same complaint again and again, realize that there are many other customers who have the same complaint, but just aren’t sharing it with you. The statistic most commonly shared is that in an average business, for every complaint you hear from a customer, there are 26 others that have the same complaint, but choose not to tell you. Even if that stat is half true, that’s still a lot of unhappy customers. You think they are happy because they don’t complain to you. But, they aren’t happy. They may or may not come back. Can you afford to take that chance?

So, have a discussion with your team. If there’s a problem that’s happening repeatedly, and you’re hearing customers frequently complain about it, find out what’s driving that complaint. There has to be a way to make it better. Because something bad that happens over and over again, shouldn’t happen over and over again. So…stop it!

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Shep HykenShep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow Shep on Twitter: @Hyken

(Copyright © MMXVII, Shep Hyken)

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