Long lines, attitude prone cashiers, a lack of customer follow up, and overly aggressive customer service representatives…this is not a list on how to fail at customer service, it is a reality with many major businesses who forget that customers are the paddle that keeps their profit boat flowing. Below are tips on how to create a customer experience that won’t ruin your business by playing out in the media.
Signs that a drizzle will turn into a tropical storm… When facing the eye of an impending storm, it is important to pick up on behavioral clues that a client is teetering on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Teeth chattering, dilated pupils, a red face, knuckle cracking, and increased perspiration are all signs that your interaction with them is not going well.
When communicating with an unhappy customer, it is vital to not become part of the problem. This means, if there are signs that there is going to be a tropical storm, do not walk into the storm, and do not mirror the customer’s irate disposition by folding your arms, sighing heavily, rolling your eyes, or staring blankly at them as you mentally go to your “Happy Place”. These defense mechanisms are the ideal set up for cell phone video captures and YouTube posts – neither good for your company brand.
Healthy emotional detachment makes everyone feel good…Case scenario: a customer is dissatisfied because an employee, on an earlier shift, assigned a hotel room to the wrong person on a full capacity day and now the customer is out of a room. In scenario a) the employee on the late shift becomes unnerved and aggressively asserts that it isn’t their problem, then walks away from the customer. In scenario b) the employee on the late shift allows the customer to vent, in order to hear the root of their complaint, then simply says: “I am so sorry that happened and I completely understand where you are coming from; here’s what I’m going to do to fix this…”
In the latter scenario, the representative is doing two things: expressing empathy and understanding with a genuine desire to help a customer. In this ideal resolution, the key is to maintain a healthy emotional distance in order to alleviate the problem, instead of creating a now postal customer who will surely log on to Twitter or call local news stations to vent. Detachment is not easy and takes practice and patience, but when you are detached, you can see the problem better than when you are engaged with the problem.
Complaints grow from roots…The root of any complaint – whether it is about the weather, a product being unavailable, or rush hour traffic, is that the customer feels their needs are not being met. This common complaint comes in many forms: “I feel that when my needs are not being met, I am not being heard,” “I feel when my needs are not being met, I’m not being taken seriously, “or “I feel that when my needs are not being met, this company could not care less.”
Whether you are a startup or established business, not caring gives your competitors a strategic opportunity to exploit your weakness and turn it into their strength, by positioning their brand as customer focused and stealing your customers with aggressive marketing. If you don’t want to end up being listed as “The Worst Company Since the Dawn of Time,” it’s essential to train your employees on effective problem solving tactics and to hire people who support your brand and your company vision.
Do you think customer service is a dying trend or do you have tips on creating better customer service value? Share your comments below!