Customers often experience negative emotions such as anxiety, frustration, or anger. Detect customer emotions and find ways to help them feel better.
- Customers have two types of basic needs, rational and emotional. A rational need is the specific assistance a customer requests. An emotional need is how the customer wants to feel about their experience. They'll feel like they've received poor service when they experience negative emotions such as frustration, concern, or a sense of being unwelcome. Let's look at a short scene with an angry customer. See if you can identify both the customer's rational and emotional needs.
- Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. Well, I'm gonna help you do an exchange and get you the item you ordered. - An exchange? I was supposed to use this as a gift tonight. I can't use this! What do you... - Were you able to identify this customer's needs? Here's what I came up with. We'll start with the rational need. This one can be tricky. It's tempting to think the customer's rational need is to get the item he ordered in the correct color. But what he really needs is a gift. We may not have time to get the correct item to him by tonight, so we may need to think of another solution.
You probably noticed the customer felt quite a bit of anxiety. Probably because he was worried about being embarrassed when he didn't have the right gift. That means his emotional need is to feel relief. We'll need to do something to help this customer feel better about the situation. Of the two, emotional needs are even more important than rational ones. A customer will feel like they've received outstanding service when they experience positive emotions such as delight, relief, or a sense of belonging.
For instance, we probably won't get the correct item to that customer in time for him to give it as a gift this evening, but perhaps we can do something else to make him feel better. We might invite him to keep the incorrect item and offer to send the correct item to the gift recipient. Or perhaps we can order flowers from a local florist so he has a gift to give while we wait for the correct item to arrive. Perhaps the customer will just feel a little better when you take a moment to listen to him, empathize with his situation, and offer a sincere apology for the error.
There's not always a great solution to every problem, but you'll often win customers over if you try to make them feel better at the end of the interaction than they did at the beginning.
LinkedIn Learning is a PMI Registered Education Provider. This course qualifies for professional development units (PDUs). To view the activity and PDU details for this course, click here.
- Explore how you can use customer surveys to build rapport.
- Name three ways you can use active listening to serve your customers more effectively.
- Identify the different types of needs that must be addressed in order to solve problems.
- Explain the benefits of taking ownership of a problem.
- Define “preemptive acknowledgment” and recognize its impact on customer service.
- List three types of attitude anchors and explain their differences.