Customer Service: The Gray Area

There is always an area of customer service that falls in The Gray Area. You know, that area where the customer has an issue which is outside the policies and procedures.

So how do you deal with the gray area at different levels?

A best practice is to first have a set procedure on how to handle standard customer issues. This set procedure should be written down with steps clearly laid out.

Staff should be trained on how to handle a variety of customer service issues. Also document training days and what the training covered.

Once you have a set procedure and training in place, now you can deal with the gray area. Your next steps will depend on two items. First, how many people work for you? Two, do you trust any of your employees to comfortably handle a gray area situation?

Let's say you have an assistant manager for the store. You can ask employees to refer to the AM when you are not in the store. But, that leads to the second point. Have you trained the manager to have built trust with them? Are you comfortable they know enough about the company and its values to determine how best to handle a gray area situation. If not than all gray area situations need to be directed to you.

I know, its one more thing you have to do. Reality is, if you don't direct these situations to you, the entire process could become worse. Think about a time when you had an issue that a staff member tried to solve. Instead the situation became worse. An issue you could have easily handled, escalated to an extreme. The simple step of directing issues to you will actually save you time, money, and customers.

Now, if no one else works for you its up to you anyways. Still have a set plan with how to deal with a variety of customer service issues. It will make dealing with the gray area easier. If you have read my other blogs, it all comes down to a plan in my book.

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