An unhappy customer is on the phone. You don’t want them to lose them. So what can you do? Ask these three simple questions, then listen to resolve the issue and keep the customer for life.
“Customer satisfaction is worthless. Customer loyalty is priceless.” ~ Jeffery Gitomer
Ask, “What happened?” At this point, the customer may rant a bit. It’s ok. Let them go on. Let them know you are listening by saying that’s terrible, or what rotten luck.
Don’t blame yourself or your organization unless you were at fault. Don’t be sorry. Sorry is a state of being. It’s a penitent expression that reeks of incompetence. It’s far better to say “thank you” any time you feel inclined to say sorry to a customer.
You could say thank you for letting me know about this. It’s ok to apologize if you want to express regret for someone’s actions or think it would help the situation. An apology is an acknowledgment of an offense or failure. You don’t dwell on it.
Ask, “What should have happened?” At this point, the customer will tell you what’s missing. They’ll let you know the difference between their expectations and what they got.
Repeat what they said in their own words. Repeat “what should have happened” back to the customer. Let them know that you heard them and that you understand what they expected.
Remember the old adage, “People might forget what you say, but they never forget how you made them feel.”
Ask, “What can we do to make this right?” This question tries to save the sale and please the customer.
The customer may demand a refund or exchange. Give it to them without question. They might want free shipping. Give it to them anyway as a bonus.
Sometimes you might need to ship a new item before the old one gets returned. Explain to the customer what you are going to do for them. If it’s inexpensive, tell them to keep it. If it’s a bigger item, say that you trust them to return the broken or defective item.
Thank them for their business. Tell the customer that you look forward to serving them again. Send them the replacement item by express. Include a handwritten note, card, gift, or little bonus item that they weren’t expecting.
So if you want to resolve customer complaints, ask these three questions.
What should have happened?
What can we do to make this right?
These questions resolve complaints and lead to happy customers.
If you listened well and remained friendly, you’ll have more than a satisfied customer. You’ll gain positive word-of-mouth advertising and a loyal customer for life.
Michael Warren Campbell
What about you? Have you ever worked in customer service? How did you handle an unhappy customer? Is there anything that you would add to my article? I’d love to hear your advice.
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