You have heard it time and time again- the customer is always right. Although that isn’t always TRUE -We have to pretend it is sometimes. There are exceptions to every rule of course. If your customer is paying you to guide them and give a consultation? Then you can/should be right- because you are the expert.
As a business, we have to be exceptionally careful when it comes to what we say to who, how we handle situations and clientele in general. Why? Social media/word of mouth- that’s why. Not for nothing but a bad review can be shared to thousands of people in less than an hour, tarnishes your reputation and it sticks in search engines! Word of mouth has been morphed into a crazed/shareable and influential monster that unfortunately we need to be aware of.
So how do we provide the best customer service possible? Especially in times when we don’t exactly want to? Well, there are some techniques I’d like to share with you.
1. Don’t avoid the problem
You cannot shun the customer and expect them to disappear. Some will, some won’t, but that’s not a chance you should take. Just take a deep breath and run at it. What’s the worst that can happen? An angry customer? Too late.
2. Listen to the customers issue with your full attention- let them finish
Most times the customer just wants a solution. Sometimes they know that nothing can be done to rectify their dismay- they just need a good vent and they just need to feel like someone is listening to them. There are even times when the issue will be completely uncalled for and left field- in these cases, put your sympathetic shoes on. You don’t know what this other human being has gone through today. A family issue, death, lost job… who knows. Is it fair that they are taking it out on you? Nope… not at all, but it is nice of you to take the time out and provide them with the best customer service you can!
3. Address the issue as soon as possible
Don’t let your inbox and mailbox fill up. (See step one). Take care of the customer ASAP. Even if you are jammed, let them know you will be getting back to them. Just sizzle the heat a bit until you can extinguish the flame. Answer your phone and reply to your emails.
4. Don’t pass the buck
Don’t blame anyone else and don’t pass the customer through a wringer (they won’t go away). If you want to upset the customer even more? Pretend that you have no idea how your company’s policies work, or who can help with what. THAT will do it. If your employees actually don’t know how policies work or who can help with what? Then you have a bigger issue.
5. Try and stop issues before they start
This is easier said than done sometimes, but by providing great customer service at all times, by delivering on your promises, smiling, training your employees to handle heated situations at floor level and by offering legit products and services? You can reduce the amount of upset customers.
Now don’t fret, there is PR and other ways that you can reverse a negative experience… and let’s be honest: some people just cannot be helped no matter what you do. Don’t take it personally (remember that some people may just be having a bad day) and rest well tonight- because overall the general public is pretty empathetic if it’s one bad review in a sea of good ones.
In the end, just try and take your customer complaints with a grain of salt. Bill Gates said it right-
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”