Most people have held a position in customer service at some point in their lives, whether it was as a waitress, sales representative, or clerk.
The majority can’t get out of the industry fast enough, and on to a desk job. While there’s no doubt that customer service can be one of the most stressful professions, if you do it right, it can also be one of the most rewarding.
How did the phrase “I want to speak to the Manager” become the most loathed sentence in the customer service industry?
One of the main problems when approaching any issue in customer service is that we assume that the customer is the problem. The customer is never the problem. Instead, the customer has a problem. Think about it, every customer who approaches you is doing so because they need something that you offer. They have a problem that your product or service can solve, whether it’s a meal when they’re hungry, a dress when they have a gala to attend or a simple oil change. An issue will always arise when you fail to solve the problem the way the customer desired.
But it’s not the end of the world. And the phrase “I want to speak to the manager” can actually be something that you look forward to, when you know how to solve problems effectively. You will learn that solving problems gives you a chance to take control of the solution and become a valuable asset in your company eventually commanding a higher pay.
Here are 7 Steps to address a customer’s problem and win them over:
1. DON’T DELAY.
As soon as you learn of a problem with a customer, get on it. Do not wait. The customer needs to know that solving the problem is of the utmost importance to you.
2. LISTEN UP.
Listen to the customer without interrupting. Be patient no matter how busy you are, and give them all of your attention. This will assure the customer that you are interested in helping them and solving the problem is genuinely important to you.
When you have listened to them describe the issue, summarize it back to them. They will be happy to see that you were paying close attention. Show empathy and really prove to them that you understand what they are struggling with.
4. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY.
Don’t pass the buck. No one wants to hear about how it’s not your fault because the manager has you working overtime, or your co-worker didn’t show up, or you’ve been juggling 3 jobs. Never give the customer an excuse when they expect an answer. You are a representative of the company and as such, every problem that arises in the company or at the company is your personal responsibility. It is your job to solve the problem. The more time you spend trying to make excuses, the less time you have to solve the problem.
Instead of offering a solution, ask the customer how you can solve the problem for them. Again, this reinforces that the focus is entirely on the customer and his or her wishes. While pushing offers at a customer can make them feel like you are just trying to get rid of them, asking for suggestions will put the ball in their court and make them think of what would make them happy.
6. FOLLOW THROUGH.
When you understand what the customer needs from you, in order to solve the problem, respond. It is crucial that you follow through with a solution in a timely manner. Take care to give them exactly what they requested, and don’t cut any corners.
7. CHECK BACK.
Never leave a customer hanging. Just because you have delivered the solution, does not mean that you can leave it there. Check in and make sure that your solution was a success, and that the customer is happy.
8. ADD SOMETHING.
While it’s not always necessary, in certain situations you may want to give a customer something extra for their trouble. If it’s a restaurant, offer dessert on the house; if it’s a car repair offer a free oil change, and so on. The extra value is the icing on the cake that turns a previously bad situation into a good one.
Use this system to guarantee that every customer leaves happier than when they came in, and if they can’t rave about everything being perfect to begin with, they will certainly talk about the excellent customer service.
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