Customer Care - The Next Level

Article by Bill Parslow

Everybody knows that Customer Care is vital in any Escape Room - we all know that you have to be nice to your customers, it’s just a business truism nowadays. The thing about real customer care - the care that benefits your business properly is that it goes far beyond being nice, polite, fair and kind to all your customers. It does include all those things, obviously, but it’s the next level, the level where you are kind and forgiving despite the fact that your customer is in the wrong, and possibly difficult and bad-mannered with it.

Imagine being in the situation where it just isn’t fair that you have to pay the penalty for their lateness, rudeness, lack of understanding of what it is they are undertaking in your escape room. It just isn’t fair that you should refund them all their money while you lose out. Well, no, it isn’t. But.

I’ve come across a couple of tricky situations recently. In one example the escape room had to cancel a booking a few days in advance because of unforeseen circumstances in their building.

Then another where a group frankly took advantage, of a very kind adaptable GM, who’d busted a gut to fit them in when they were late, but they didn’t get the freebie they’d heard that others got, so they demanded their money back.

In the first case, despite being offered a refund, the cancelled group were still furious. Why? It was a going away present for one of their party and the date was irreplaceable. They left a poor review, not really an unfair one, stating the position that they were in. The room owners left a polite rebuttable saying they were really sorry, but the circumstances were out of their control, and they had offered a full refund immediately which had been accepted. On the face of it both parties were being very reasonable, from their respective points of view.

From a customer care point of view though, the room owner’s approach wasn’t the best approach. It was defensible, reasonable, fair even - after all it wasn’t their fault. But it didn’t wash with the customer, because they weren’t thinking about it from the customer’s point of view.

The customer had been planning a one off special event for their soon to go off friend, and suddenly it was gone, with no way of easily replacing it. The refund was offered straight away - but it wasn’t enough. The room owner didn’t assign the same level of emotional importance to the event that they did - it was just another one of those things, and it wasn’t OUR fault anyway. It completely missed where the customer was coming from.

What could the room owner have done? Well they could offered all the money back AND a free event of their choice. It wouldn’t have been of practical help but it would have matched the customer’s sense of importance. It would have said yes, yes we understand how upsetting this cancellation is! And it wouldn’t have hidden behind “it’s not our fault”, it would have plain and simple said it is OUR fault and we’re very sorry.

You know with enough positive input this could have turned a poor, angry review into a top rate review. If hey could have shown that they really did care about failing to meet their commitment to run that session. People do appreciate that.

What about the disgruntled “I didn’t get a freebie” customer? More about that next week, when I need to talk about my trousers, and bang on about Customer Care even more.

Bill Parslow

Author photo for Bill Parslow

Bill Parslow is an escape room GM, writer and storyteller. Being a game master/game show host ticked a number of his boxes and he still rather enjoys it.

Bill is Tom's dad (the Founder of Buzzshot) and it was his experience working in a local Escape Room that led to Tom developing the Buzzshot software.

What's next? well, more Customer Care, the story of my new trousers and a deeper understanding of the human condition.