Have you ever had a bad service experience? My guess is that you can answer an absolute yes to this question, and have more than one war story to share. When dealing with a problem or issue, with a customer or employee, what we say and how we say it can make a world of difference. Although we have good intentions, we may find ourselves responding defensively. There are several words and phrases which are commonly used. I’m going offer some alternatives that will create a different result. I’m going to call them the “banned words” of customer service.
It’s our policy. Employees sometimes explain to the customer the company policy, and then communicate the solution to their problem within that policy. FACT: Customers don’t care about policies, customers want satisfaction and solutions. The same goes for our employees. They don’t want to fit within company policy, they want a solution to their issue. Focus on the solutions available which will satisfy the problem or issue, and leave out the policies and procedures.
No. Nobody enjoys being told no. Although it is sometimes necessary, focus on the alternatives available. In many instances, we can’t do exactly what the customer or our employees would prefer. However, we usually do have alternatives available, and in some cases can offer more than one so that the customer can choose the option that best suits them.
You Should Have. The time to talk about what to do differently is after the problem or issue is resolved, not during. Our customers, or employees, don’t want to be told what they should have done – it’s too late for that. Instead, they want a solution to the problem at hand. After resolution, then is the time to ask the question: What could you do differently next time to prevent the problem from occurring again?
I Can’t. This again is one of those phrases often necessary, but not effective. We can’t always do what the customer would prefer. We can, however, focus on the problem and offer alternatives and solutions to get it resolved. The real key here is to focus on what you can do, not what you can’t.
You Have To. Our customers and employees don’t “have to” do anything. They have choices, and our job is to offer them choices, and help them make the best decision. We can do this through brainstorming, communicating options and alternatives, and guiding them to the best choice for them. Telling them what to do is never effective.
Ultimately, it’s how we’re treated that truly makes the difference. If handled well, a customer can be very loyal – thrilled, impressed, and a customer for life. If handled poorly, a customer may leave – angry, frustrated and disappointed. In both cases, the customer will share their story with others. So make sure your story that’s sold is a positive one.
For more career, sales, and leadership advice please contact our coaches
Joe Micallef – Sales Coach – email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (773) 329 0066
Donna Flynn – Career/Management Coach – email email@example.com, or call (630) 624-4319