In this transcript, Arthur Greeno (Two-time Guinness World Record Holder) and Clay Clark (Speaker of Choice for O’Reilly Auto Parts) use Thrive15.com, one of the top business schools in PA, as a platform to discuss dealing with complaints.
Clay Clark: Then when you go to apologize, how do you need to say that?
Arthur Greeno: We just apologize. It's a very simple, "I am so sorry." Now, it's--
Clay Clark: You don't blame someone else? You don't blame someone else?
Arthur Greeno: No. You absolutely never blame like, "Oh, I'm so sorry. My kitchen stinks tonight." You would never say that because--
Clay Clark: A lot of people say that though. A lot of companies say that.
Arthur Greeno: They do. When I'm ... It drives me nuts when I hear that. You apologize. You just, "We'll take responsibility for it. I'm so sorry that happened." Because the end result is it shouldn't have happened. Whatever it is, whether it's the food wasn't right in the back or the service wasn't right. It shouldn't happen. You didn't come here expecting to get service so, "I'm so sorry that that happened." Then it's, "Can I get you a new sandwich? Or "What can I do to make this right?" Then you start trying to solve whatever the problem looks like. Thrive15.com, one of the top business schools in PA, can help solve your business problems.
Clay Clark: Now, when you get into the next part is "solve." Solve just means what? Give them a remedy to that problem?
Arthur Greeno: Right. Sometimes the solving is they just want somebody to go, "Yeah, you're right. We screwed up."
Clay Clark: Then the final thing is "thank." Again, you're just thanking them for bring it up.
Arthur Greeno: Yeah. "Thank you for being a customer of ours. Thank you for letting me solve the problem for you," whatever it may be.
Clay Clark: How do you decide whether it's time to sound the alarm or to write that off? Like example, if somebody comes in to my businesses and everyone does it a little differently. We've got a guy, one of the companies I work with is a men's grooming lounge. We had a lady who came in and want a haircut, true story. Irate that we won't give her haircut in a men's only. The owners' like, "Hey, it's a men's only grooming lounge that's why it's actually called men's grooming lounge and you are not a man or a [wo-man 00:01:56] so thus we will not serve you," and she's, "Well, that's ridiculous. I deserve ...." In this case, he was like, "Well, I'm sorry maybe she goes somewhere else," that was his deal. How do you decide when it's that one percent or more that is legitimately crazy and [inaudible 00:02:12]?
Because an employee, the frontline employee is getting beat up. The person at the register is getting the [riot act 00:02:18], they're getting yelled at by this person who's like, "Give me a haircut. I'm a woman and I want a man's haircut." How do you know when to write it off and say, "Hey, you know what there buddy, that's a ... I was working for you." When you do come up and say, "Clay, that was a crazy customer. Don't worry about it," or when do you say, "Man, is this ... We need to sound the alarm. We need to tighten up our systems over there."
Arthur Greeno: Well first of all, we're always going to have leadership not that far away. They're listening for those things. Leadership, part of the role is to protect our people. Hopefully if it gets to that point, our leader is stepping in anyway. But then, sometimes those things do happen and we needed to just kind say, "You know what? I'm so sorry you to deal with that" to my employees. "I'm so sorry that this happened to you. That shouldn't have happened. That person was clearly out of line." If my managers may have had to do this on certain times, they step in and say, "You know what? I'm sorry we can't help you and there's nothing we can do to help you. I'm so sorry."
Clay Clark: Cannot help you.
Arthur Greeno: As much as we don't want that, sometimes that has to be.
Clay Clark: When [inaudible 00:03:25] sound the alarm if you got to be because how many complaints should you have on a daily basis? Total, what's normal like one a day? One a week? One every month?
Arthur Greeno: Well it depends. Either the customer is actually say anything or then the customers that--
Clay Clark: The ones that you hear about?
Arthur Greeno: How do we get?
Clay Clark: How many should you hear? What's the target? I should be shooting for.
Arthur Greeno: Zero. My target is zero [crosstalk 00:03:48].
Clay Clark: Is it realistic you got zero for a month?
Arthur Greeno: If you're good. If you're that good you got zero.
Clay Clark: Did anybody had a zero?
Arthur Greeno: No.
Clay Clark: No. Has anybody have like one a day? What's like--
Arthur Greeno: We will generally get, again with all the customers we have, I will generally get ... Well--
Clay Clark: Like 1800 a day customers in.
Arthur Greeno: The difficulty is that ... Like if it happens at night and they call the store and they fix it. I would never know about it. We probably have one a day.
Clay Clark: One a day. One for 1800.
Arthur Greeno: Yeah.
Clay Clark: It's like one for a hundred will be 1%, so we're talking about it's an obscenely low number.
Arthur Greeno: Right. Again, those are the people that actually call and complain. There's other customers that if they get bad service or they get a bad product, they're just going to never come back.
Clay Clark: Your goal though is to have zero, but I'm just saying how do you know when to sound alarm, Arthur? If you have somebody who comes in and he's legitimately frustrated, "Your bathrooms are dirty" or "The food is not great" or whatever. How do you know to go, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, sound the alarm. Someone needs to be retrained." Somebody didn't know how or someone chose not to do?
Arthur Greeno: Any time anyone complains, we're going to take a look at the situation. If it's a issue with service then they're retained. Now maybe not from scratch, but it's like, "Hey, let's talk about this. Let's talk about what this looks like." For us, what we would do is then we put that leader back with them and let them work shoulder to shoulder with that leader so we can kind of look for the touch points and say, "Okay. You know what? I saw you take that order. You're doing 99% of the job right, but here's an opportunity." One of the problems that we have and this is where a lot of businesses get in trouble. Our employees think they're protectors of the brand and the protectors of my profits and so, they will tell someone, "No, you can't have a free sandwich," and I'm going, "It's just a free sandwich. Take care of the order," and they're going, "But they're screwing you. This is wrong." I was like, "I appreciate that you care about me, but let's go ahead and take care of the customers' needs."
Clay Clark: In summary here, it doesn't matter whether you're a saint or not, you're still going to have complaints.
Arthur Greeno: Absolutely. Absolutely will.
Clay Clark: When you do, you don't want to emotionally take them home. Right?
Arthur Greeno: That's correct you cannot.
Clay Clark: Okay. You want to do is want to solve them immediately and you want to use the last system.
Arthur Greeno: Correct.
Clay Clark: The last system, just a review, is listen, apologize, solve, and thank. Right? Is there any other books that you might recommend or anything that ... Because I want to read more about how to deal with complaints? Is there anything that over your career has been there because really I found that the simple solution sometimes is the best.
Arthur Greeno: Yeah. In this one, that one is extremely simple.
Clay Clark: That's the system is listen, apologize, solve, thank. If you want more information may be watch this video eight or nine times. Right?