Problems can and will happen in customer service. Taking ownership involves accepting responsibility to overcome obstacles and find a resolution.
- Taking ownership is one of the most important problem solving skills in customer service. It involves accepting responsibility for finding a resolution even if it means putting in extra effort and navigating around obstacles that get in the way. It's important to note that there are many reason why customer service professionals might be temped to avoid taking ownership. Here are just a few: one is, that's not my job. Taking ownership doesn't necessarily mean that you personally solve the problem.
Rather, it means making sure it gets resolved even if you have to coordinate with someone else whose job it is to take care of that issue. Another one is I don't want to get blamed. It's natural to want to avoid being blamed for a problem, especially if you didn't create it. Ownership is not about accepting blame. It's a process for steering away from blame and focusing on finding a solution. Finally, some people say I don't have time.
It can be difficult to take ownership of a situation when you're already very busy. However, avoiding ownership is often worse because the problem doesn't go away. Keep in mind that customers often view us as representing the entire company and they don't care who does what, they just need someone like you to step up and help resolve the issue. Accepting responsibility for solving a customer's problem often starts with the language we use.
Employees who try to avoid ownership use deflecting language to try to dodge responsibility. Employees who accept ownership of problems use what I call ownership language. Let's look at some examples. Deflection might sound like this. - Excuse me, I filled out my paperwork like an hour ago, do you know how much longer it'll be? - I have no idea. They never tell me anything around here. - Excuse me, I've been here about an hour or so, do you know how much longer it'll be before I can speak to someone? - Oh, I don't know.
They don't tell me anything around here. I'm so sorry. - Who told you that? That's not our policy. - You can probably imagine those responses wouldn't go over very well with customers. Deflection puts the problem back on the customer and it essentially says I'm not gonna help you. Here's what those same employees might sound like if they used ownership language instead. - [Man] Hi, I'd like to return this. - Okay, let me introduce you to my coworker, she's an expert at this, she'll be able to help you.
- Thanks. - Let me see what I can do to help you. - Do you know when I'll be hearing back? - Oh, that's a good question. Let me find out real quick, okay? Hi yes, when will Charlotte's charts be ready? Oh great, good. Thank you. A few more minutes and they'll be just ready for you to go. - [Charlotte] Awesome, thank you. - You bet. - One of the benefits of taking ownership is it can help you prevent customers from getting angry because they feel like you're on their side and want to help them resolve their problem.
If a customer does get upset you can often use ownership to help them quickly feel better. Think of it as customer service judo where you take all the energy that's focused on the problem and redirect it towards finding a solution. Here are three steps you can take to accept ownership. The first step is to acknowledge the problem and the customer's feelings so the customers know you're there to help. For example, you might start by saying I'm sorry that happened or I can understand why you're frustrated.
The next step is to refocus on finding a solution. Try to steer the conversation towards moving forward and solving the customer's problem. So you might say, let's see how we can solve this. The third step is to follow up. In cases where you don't personally fix the problem, it's important to remember that you must still ensure the problem gets fixed by following up with the customer to ensure the problem is resolved to their satisfaction. For instance, you might check with a coworker to make sure your customer was happy with the solution.
Many customer service problems come down to ownership. Problems often linger or fall through the cracks because nobody steps up to take responsibility. Many problems can be quickly fixed if just one person accepts ownership for finding a solution.
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- 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.