It’s really important to know how to calm down your customer quickly, get to the root of their problem, solve it, and nourish the relationship for next time.
If you’ve had a chance to look at my book, The Customer is Bothering Me, you’ll get this all laid out for you, but there’s four key steps.
1) Treat the Emotion First
Most people cannot do these two things at the same time; they can’t be upset and be logical. If you’ve got a customer that’s upset and you try immediately to solve their problem, they probably won’t co-operate because they’re busy being upset and they need you to understand that. So treat the emotion first.
The key is to meet your customer where he or she is. My strategy may seem a little silly because most people are taught to stay calm. But if you think about it, when you are upset about something and the person you are speaking to stays calm, and doesn’t acknowledge either verbally or in their tone of voice that you are upset, it can feel like they are not really hearing you.
Instead, I suggest that when your customer becomes upset about something and they raise their tone that you raise your tone to almost the same level, but you say something helpful and we call that getting upset on behalf of your customer.
This is not the same as yelling at your customer. Step number one is to get upset on behalf of your customer, show them that you are surprised and upset with them. If you don’t sound like you’re surprised when they are upset, your customer may believe that this problem is normal, you don’t care, this happens all the time and your whole company doesn’t care about what happens. Remember, everything you do determines what your customer believes about your whole company. So for step one, treat the emotion first.
Click here to find out more about how to match your customer’s tone, and what kinds of things you can say that will be helpful.
2) Clarify What the Customer Actually Wants and Take Action
Whether or not you agree that it’s a problem, if the customer thinks it is a problem, we need to sort out what it is they need. You can suggest two options here that will solve their problem. In my book, The Customer is Bothering Me, there is more information on exactly the wording to use with upset customers.
It is important to make a suggestion at this point, as if you ask the customer “How would you like me to fix this?”, they may become angry again since they will be expecting you to be the expert and to know what to do to fix the issue. So step two, clarify what the customer wants and take action.
3) Make Amends
Many people don’t think about this, but if your customer is upset, to him or her it is as if they have been hurt. So our third step is to make it up to them. It is not enough simply to say, “Well I’m sorry”. Remember when you were a child and your parents told you to say you’re sorry, your siblings knew you weren’t really sorry. Your upset customers know you are not really sorry either. So what can you do to make amends? Does your company have a policy so that the person actually dealing with the upset customers can make amends right on the stop without having to ask for permission? So step three, make amends.
4) Nourish the Relationship for the Future
Make sure that you communicate to your customer so that whenever they contact your company again for any reason, that you have set them up for a positive experience. You can do that by saying, “Listen, any one of my colleagues will help you find what you want and if there are ever any issues, we’ll do whatever it takes do to solve it. We are your personal fix-it people”. Make sure they can see a picture in their mind’s eye of how it will be next time, (such as “fix-it people”) That’s how to nourish the relationship for next time.
If you want more information on strategies for dealing with customers and creating a great customer experience, check out my book, The Customer is Bothering Me, available as an EBook or available in paperback form.
Hope you enjoyed this. Let me know if you got any great ideas from Shelle’s Top Tips.