Act – Act with accountability and owning the customer’s issue

Think back to a recent experience you’ve had as a customer when you felt as though the advisor simply didn’t care about resolving your issue or question. How did it feel? What was the advisor doing or saying? Now think back to a time when you completely trusted that an advisor had your back and was ‘owning’ your query. What were they doing or saying? What was different to your other experience?

Imagine a world where every time we contacted an organisation, we were helped by someone who was accountable and who completely owned it! According to recent research, 78% of customers have ended a relationship with an organisation due to poor service, however they also reported that if a customer has a bad experience but it is resolved, then 70% of those customers will continue to do business with the organisation.

So, what is accountability? Unaccountable customer service sounds a bit like this:

  • “I’m sorry, but the process won’t let me.”
  • “That’s not my fault, a colleague in another department has done this wrong.”
  • “It should take about 3 days.”
  • “Unfortunately, that’s not something I can do.”

Urgh! Accountable customer service sounds like this:

  • “Whilst I can’t do that, I can definitely do this…”
  • “That’s not the experience you should have had, this is what I’ll do…”
  • “In three days, that will all be resolved for you.”
  • “I can help you.”

See the difference?  When we are unaccountable, we blame other departments or colleagues, make excuses, direct the customer elsewhere in the hope someone else will help or we are completely oblivious to the customer’s needs because we haven’t tried to learn more. We tell the customer what can’t be done and we use words such as: Unfortunately, Don’t, Won’t, Unable, Can’t, The only thing I can do, I’m afraid that…, Should/Shouldn’t. This doesn’t inspire trust and confidence!

When we are accountable, we make the effort to truly understand what the customer wants and needs; we are solution-focused, we do what it takes to help the customer even if we don’t have the answer right now. We take action and we are proactive. We tell the customer what can be done, rather than what can’t; we suggest alternatives and other options available. We use language such as: Will, Can, Your options are, I know exactly what to do…, What I need to do is…

Being accountable and taking ownership doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to solve the problem, it does mean that you make sure it gets resolved, inspiring trust and confidence in your customer.


Take a look at our GREAT Customer Service programme and if you’d like to explore this topic further give us a call on 01582 463464. We’re always here to help.

Categories: Customer service

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