Those of us in the customer service industry have much to deal with. Payroll, purchases, inventory, market share, etc. take a lion’s share of our daily tasks. But, there’s one thing I left out: the customers.
No matter what we deal with we must also deal with the occasional upset customer (whether we like it or not). Here’s a great tactic to use in these circumstances:
Hear your customer out. Don’t interrupt or try to justify your actions. Be patient and allow your customer to fully tell their side of the story so you can find out what happened.
When you empathize you “understand and share the feelings of another”. In other words, put yourself in the shoes of your customer. Use phrases like “I understand how upsetting that could be”. “I’d feel the same as you if that happened to me”.
Next comes a sincere apology. No excuses and no justification why something did or didn’t happen. Your customer is unhappy – just apologize.
Now it’s your chance to fix the issue. Let your customer know that YOU will be the one to fix the issue. If for any reason you are not in a position to fix the issue, clearly explain that you will get assistance from _____________________ (the boss, manager, supervisor, etc.) and he/she will help to resolve the issue. And make sure the resolution is acceptable from the customer.
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Thank your customer for their patience and understanding during this time and for bringing this matter to your attention. Show your appreciation for their business and for allowing you to fix the issue to their satisfaction.
You must finish off with a smile and fond farewell and let them know you look forward to their future business.
One last thing I like to say in times like these is “when you return next time, please ask for me and I will personally make sure you are well taken care of”. And you must mean it.
Having an upset customer is difficult for everyone. We feel as if we’ve failed them. Their experience was less than they expected (and maybe far less) and they now have a bad memory of our business.
We can turn this around but only with quick and sincere actions. And, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to turn an upset customer into a future positive advocate of your business based on how well you react to and resolve their problems.
But remember, to do this you need to have H.E.A.R.T.