It started out as a great day. Things were going well. Humming along. And then you got a call or message from a grumpy customer. Something’s wrong. They’re upset and they want you to fix it. Now. Yikes!
Don’t panic. When emergency responders and aircraft pilots run into problems, they follow proven checklists to save people. You can do this too. Be a hero. Save your customers with this 10-step process.
1. The first person to whom the client complains becomes the owner of the problem and its solution. In many top companies, the No. 1 rule of customer service is that the first person to hear the customer problem “owns” the problem. They cannot shift the problem to another employee by leaving a voicemail. They cannot put a yellow sticky note on someone else’s desk. They must immediately fix the problem or turn it over to another employee in real time who will immediately fix the problem. When they do turn it over to another employee, they make sure that the customer knows how the problem will be handled and that they still care and should be called back if the person who’s handling the problem doesn’t completely satisfy the customer.
2. Thank customers when they notify you of a problem. They really are giving you a gift. They appreciate being acknowledged and thanked.
3. Paraphrase the complaint in your own words to make sure you understand. For example, start with: “Let me see if I understand you completely…”
4. Ask for details. Take notes and do not interrupt. Even if you think the complaint is silly, do not let the customers know that. Make it clear that you are on their side and don’t argue....
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