Okay you blew it; you dropped the ball in product, product delivery, or customer service. The customer is livid, and more than happy to let you know his level of frustration. What do you do now?
Now, in this very minute, when the customer is in-your-face, possibly even screaming, you have one of your greatest opportunities to win an undying loyal fan. At this moment, more than in any other, you have your customer’s undivided, unfiltered, and unsheltered attention.
Now I do not recommend that you make mistakes to gain this opportunity, I do however; recommend that you fully capitalize on this opportunity while it is in front of you.
By capturing this moment, you will rocket past your competitors. Most of us react unfavorably in the face of an irate customer. Typical responses are to either defend or blow it off. We react with either fight or flight. Rise above the competition take the following four steps. Try this once; the effect will have you hooked.
Step number one: listen carefully, and purposefully. Hear and acknowledge everything the customer is trying to tell you. Repeat back, in your own words, the salient points. Once you demonstrate to the customer that you understand all of the issues, you will see a significant calming on his or her part.
Step number two: harness (better yet cage) your desire to correct any facts. This is not the time to educate the customer on their misunderstanding. Your target response is empathy. If you cannot find a better statement, simply be honest and admit that if you were the customer you would feel the same. Take note, while you likely would not react that way, if you were that customer you would be that customer and react like that customer is reacting. The important point – be empathetic.
Step number three: to the highest extent of your ability offer to remedy the problem. This is important. You will most likely not be able to “fix” the problem. The customer however, is not expecting you to fix the problem, he or she wants a reasonable remediation, but first he or she wants your respect.
Step number four: after extending the olive branch of step three, explain any obstacles or hindrances that keep you from totally solving the problem. Then you must ask the customer for suggestions of how to work around or through those obstacles. The first word of “customer service and recovery” is “customer.” This is about delivering what the customer wants. You cannot know that answer unless you ask.
In completing these four steps you will have succeeded in diffusing the situation, impressing the customer that they are the important one at this table, and as best as is possible remedied the situation. In so doing you will have a customer that is a raving fan, because very few of your competitors are providing service recovery at levels even approaching this.
As you read and evaluate this guide decide how you can implement top tier customer service recovery. Develop plans and training to implement it at the points of customer contact.
Whether you adopt this approach, or one of the hundreds of similar strategies, decide today that customer service is more than lip service. Prove it by adopting and implementing a proactive service recovery program.