When your customers want action, you’re on the case, focused on getting results. It should be so simple and basic, but sometimes, in the crush of too much, too fast, the basics get overlooked. Not to malign any industry, but we’ve all spent too long on hold, or dealt with a rep who parrots a response without hearing our plea. One company lost me for good last week, a reality-check reminder of What Not To Do.
What does a customer hope for? Okay, a full-scale Congressional investigation, triple refund and lifetime discount may not be the best answers! But there are others…
A calm oasis: some customers themselves are so agitated, they’re loud, confusing, annoying. Instead of escalating to match their tone, take it down a notch. Let their waves of frustration wash out, and respond in the calmest, “I’m-a-supervisor-and-I’ll-fix-it” tone. Oh, and please turn off the speaker phone, where the volume feels aggressive and less than personal.
Yes, the personal. The friendlier you are, the easier it is to find out just what’s wrong, and make a connection. Simple way to do both: use the person’s name. In a respectful but friendly tone, remind that customer that you not only know his demand, you recognize his value.
The solution to his or her demand may be elaborate or easy, but instead of waiting for the customer to tell YOU…propose your own course of action. “I’d recommend we do this to resolve it,” you say. Once you state exactly what you believe will make that person happy, you’ve become the problem solver who saves the day.
If they hesitate, bring their input into the process. “What would YOU suggest to take care of this?” puts them in the position of agreeing with your proposal, or telling you why they won’t. The dialogue gives you an added chance to personalize the solution—and keep them as a future customer who recalls the individualized attention of someone who believes in basic good business.
For more information on Dealing with Difficult Customers and Action Hero Problem Solving, contact Market Viewpoint.