Having been married for well over 30 years, I live by the mantra that “I don’t care about being right, I want to be happy.” And I know that when my honey isn’t happy, nobody is happy at our house!
Although it sounds crazy, when handling customer issues, the perception of the customer is as important as the rightness and wrongness of what you might say, and that perception will determine their level of satisfaction.
Every week of your career as an Admin Specialist you will be confronted with customer complaints. Some will call and ask for you by name because of familiarity, and others will just blindside you as you answer the phone.
The point here is that every time you are presented with a customer complaint you have a chance to solidify a relationship, and if handled correctly, possibly sell something else. Believe it or not when complaining customers become satisfied many of them are willing and even eager to buy something else from you.
Just remember that everybody on the planet is walking around with an invisible flashing sign on their chest that says, “Make Me Feel Special”. So in this post I’m going to share some concepts that will make that sign light up as you resolve customer complaints, and it begins with personal responsibility. This is a big deal because in our own personal lives we too get passed around and told “that’s not my job” when we have legitimate complaints. Start today right now by adopting the President Harry Truman slogan; “The buck stops here.”
—————-Great to Hear from Jen—————–
“Doug you have taught me a lot in the last year. I can’t tell you just how much I appreciate your help in sales.” Sincerely, Jen M., inside sales, AZ. Look here to see what she’s thankful for.
By using these suggestions you will not only put a smile on the customer’s face, but will certainly prevent the problem from recurring.
- Tell them you understand how they feel.
- Empathize by citing a similar situation in your life. Tell them it makes you mad too.
- Listen to their whole story and don’t interrupt. Following their explanation ask questions to better understand the problem and what it will take to satisfy them.
- Agree with them if at all possible and never argue or get angry.
- Take notes and verbally confirm that everything has been covered and they have said all they want or need to say.
- Be an ambassador for your company and tell them you will personally handle it.
- Don’t blame others or look for a scapegoat. Admit that you (or the company) were wrong and take responsibility for correcting it. (Obviously I’m excluding any claim/legal issues that must be handled by others above your pay grade.)
- Don’t pass the buck. “It’s not my job”, “Someone else handles that” or “I thought he said” are responses that are never acceptable to customers.
- Respond immediately because people want and expect things to be fixed immediately.
- Find some common ground other than the problem and try to establish some rapport.
- Use humor if possible because making people laugh will help put them at ease.
- Figure out, communicate, and agree upon a solution. Give customers choices if possible. Confirm it, tell them what you plan to do, and DO IT.
- Make a follow-up call after the situation is resolved to ensure their satisfaction.
- Secure an email or text endorsement about how you resolved the situation by asking the customer to jot down a short testimonial. This will help future prospects who not only want to hear about how you are going to perform their service, but how confident they can be that you will stand by them if things go south. An endorsement like this is a gift that gives on giving.
- Ask yourself what can I do to prevent this situation from happening again? What have I learned and do I need to make any changes in my customer service approach?
If the problem is left unresolved, the customer will surely find your competition, so remember that the customer’s perception is your reality. You will be amazed at the unexpected sales that can occur when you begin to approach customers with “heartburn” this way. Determine today to stop avoiding and deflecting customer complaints as you work daily in the office. Realize that the extra few minutes and effort that it will take to resolve problems will come back to you tenfold in new sales and referrals, not to mention feeling better about yourself because you are now part of the solution rather than part of the problem.