David Brownlee walks through how to reassure the customer. Learn to show how you can take excellent care of them, how to work on solving the problem as soon as possible, and how to take full responsibility for the issue.
- Over the years, I've found that there's one strategy that is most effective in keeping your customer from becoming abusive. That strategy is to reassure your customer, making sure they know that you're committed to serving them, to getting them a positive solution to their problem. A while back, I was on a speaking tour, and, that week, there was a mistake on my cellphone bill. I figure, no big deal, I'll call customer service, and it should be easy for them to fix. So I get the customer service rep on the phone and the guy sounded like a robot, saying, "there's nothing I can do." So I tried to humanize robot man and I asked him if anything like this had ever happened to him.
He actually said yes. I said, okay, what did you do? He said, "I paid it." I'm thinking, this is ridiculous, and, obviously, I'm not getting anywhere with this guy, so we hung up. Then I get the text. You know the one, asking me to rate the service. I punched in zero, zero, zero; I was upset. After one of my speeches that day, the phone rings. It's an 800 number. I answer and it's my wireless phone company. Customer service supervisor. I was excited.
I thought, finally someone that can help me. Guess what she said. There's nothing she could do. She was ready for battle. She even got upset. I decided in that moment that, as soon as I got home, I was going to switch carriers. So I'm getting ready to head out of my hotel to a restaurant for dinner, and the phone rings. It's an 800 number, and, this time, I get yet another customer service rep, John, from the phone company. But he was different. I explained my problem to him and he said, "I know how frustrating that can be.
"It's happened to me before too. "I'm here now and I promise "I will get this resolved for you ASAP." Then I explained to him that I was on my way to dinner and asked if I could call him back. He said, "I wish you could, but you'll get someone else." I said, that's it, you're going to dinner with me. I kept him on the line until he resolved the problem and issued me a refund. That is how you reassure your customers and provide the best solution that you can. First, you must take responsibility for whatever problem your customer's having, even if it's not your fault.
This is one of the most challenging strategies for many customer service representatives to embrace. When John took my call, he took responsibility for what I went through with the other two customer service reps, and he reassured me that he would take care of me. When something negative is not your fault, it's human nature to want to blame someone else or shy away from responsibility if something goes wrong. But in order to provide your customers with world-class service, you must take responsibility for the issue in that moment.
Why? Because, in that moment, you represent your company. Your customer doesn't care who screwed up, they simply want their issue fixed. Don't take anything personally, but apologize and take responsibility. Second, tell your customer that you will do everything you can to ensure they leave happy. When you communicate this to your customer effectively, you will shift their focus in that moment from being upset to leaving happy, and that's where you want to keep their focus, on being happy.
John kept my focus on getting my problem resolved and he was working to make that happen. Third, reassure the customer that you will work to solve their issue ASAP. Let them know their issue's important and that you're trying to resolve it quickly. John didn't tell me he had to check with a supervisor or call back later, etc. He solved the problem for me right there on the spot. Now, depending on the issue, your industry, and your company's policies and procedures, ASAP could mean five minutes, it could mean five weeks, or five months.
The key is that you start as soon as possible, whether it's sending an email, making a phone call, or looking up inventory. When your customer knows you're acting quickly to help them, they generally feel cared for. Making sure your customer knows that you're committed to serving them and helping them get a positive solution to their problem will make all the difference in the world.