“It’s important to be consistent with customers,” says author Naomi Karten. “Once a customer’s expectation is set through an experience, that forms their new service expectation until it’s shifted again.”
So, for example, if a customer comes to a frontline rep with a request that your organization typically would not meet or provide, and in the spirit of above-and-beyond customer service, the rep makes an exception, they’ve then created a new expectation in that customer for the next time they call.
“When that happens, you can’t fault the customer for expecting the same treatment again,” Karten says.
So should you stop being flexible and making exceptions?
“No,” says Karten. But be aware of the potential impact and make sure the customer knows that any exception is uncommon.
For example, you might say, “I can do this for you now, but please understand that this may not be possible in the future.” Or “I would be happy to make this change today, however, I can only do this one time.”
More on how to handle exceptions appears in the October issue of Customer Communicator, the training newsletter for frontline reps.