Customers sometimes have unreasonable expectations that cannot be met. They will be disappointed if they continue to feel this way. For example, an airline passenger might expect to bring aboard more carryon bags than the airline allows because she was able to do it on a previous flight. This tutorial provides techniques to effectively handle these situations.
- Customers can sometimes have unreasonable expectations. If we aren't careful those unreasonable expectations can lead to the customer experiencing an unpleasant surprise. Here are a few examples. Airlines generally let passengers carry on one small bag and one personal item. But many passengers try to carry on much more than that. This takes up valuable bin space and prevents other passengers from stowing their bags. A software user might become upset if a software provider doesn't incorporate a feature that he's used to having in other software programs.
He may not realize that very few other customers want this feature so adding it in is a low priority. Or students entering college are sometimes upset when they can't get a choice dorm assignment. They don't realize that many other students are vying for the same housing. The best solution is to warn customers ahead of time so they don't develop these unreasonable expectations. But again, sometimes that can't be helped. Once the customer is already surprised we need to take action to help them feel better and prevent it from happening again.
Let's start with a few things you shouldn't do. Don't talk down to the customer. Don't call out the customer's mistake and tell them what they should have done. And don't get impatient with your customer. All of these things can make a customer feel stupid and embarrassed, those are some very powerful feelings and it will be very difficult to help a customer who experiences those emotions. So what should you do? First, listen carefully. Try to understand what the customer really needs.
An airline passenger who is trying to carry on three bags might be worried about the fee for a checked luggage or perhaps she's worried that her bag will get lost if she checks it. It's important to ask questions and listen carefully so you know what the customer really wants before you just tell them, no. Next, try to make your customer feel like you're on their side. They should feel like you're trying to help them even if you can't give them exactly what they want. A recent national rage study by Customer Care Measurement & Consulting found that the number one thing angry customers want is to be treated with dignity.
So be careful to avoid talking down to the customer, telling the customer what they should have done, or getting impatient. Instead, tell them that you are there to help them and want to work together to find a solution. For example, airline gate agents can help customers feel better when they enforce carry-on baggage limits by demonstrating patience and empathy. This means using a friendly tone of voice, offering to check extra bags at no charge, and asking questions to understand if passengers are anxious about something in their luggage.
They can even offer to let the passenger return to the front of the boarding line, if the passenger needed some extra time to transfer some valuables to their carry-on bag. Finally, work with the customers to suggest some options that might work for them. A technical support rep at a software company might suggest a workaround that will help the customer achieve their goal or a housing coordinator at a college might suggest some housing choices that would be convenient to the new student's classes. Just keep in mind that the goal is to work with the customer to help them find a solution that works for them rather than just denying their request.
Okay, now it's your turn. Try to think of some situations where your customers have unreasonable expectations and then try to apply the techniques we learned in this video. Remember, try to avoid arguing with customers or making them feel bad. You'll generally help the customer feel much better if they feel like you're really on their side.