Warren Buffet once said, we can’t just “satisfy” the customer; we have to learn to “delight” the customer.
No matter what business you’re in, dissatisfied customers are a part of the game- can’t really help it. The situation becomes challenging when some customer service agents turn defensive when faced with a distressed customer. In an effort to avoid conflict they try to turn attention away from the issue at hand, by deflecting the customer’s complaint and routinely listing “company policies.”
Bottom line is, this increases the customer’s dissatisfaction as she is left with the impression that no one is listening and no one cares after making a sale.
I sincerely believe no business wants itself in this situation. If you view this as an opportunity to win over a customer for life, you’re on the right track. However, it will do wonders if you follow a recognized and time-honored path to take absolute control of the situation: H.E.L.P.
H.E.L.P. is an easy to learn and follow acronym that summarizes 4 steps for a tricky situation with an unhappy customer. It works as follows:
- HEAR the customer out.
- EMPATHIZE & apologize. Precisely in that order.
- LEAD the customer to a solution
- PROVIDE the promised course of action
Hear the Customer out
Listening is the first essential step towards empathizing and signaling your intent to resolve the issue at hand. The classic components of language of listening involve nodding your head when the customer vents out her anger, resisting the temptation to correct her or defend yourself or your business, and let her finish with her outburst. At every time, remember that you are listening to a complaint and are not in a debate.
Empathize & Apologize
One of the most difficult emotions to manage, empathy also happens to be the most valuable of all responsive tools in the inventory of a customer service agent. Your apologies just won’t sound sincere unless the customer genuinely believes you’ve grasped the problem from her viewpoint. Remember you are there to diffuse the situation and not to paint a purple patch. The marketing department can handle that.
Lead the customer to a solution
Ask open ended questions to influence the customer come out with her desired solution- most of the times it’s within the realm of minor expenses. Moreover you still hold the trump card of ‘I appreciate your concern but unfortunately I’m not in a position to do this. What I can offer is…’ This one statement usually clinches the deal in favor of you- if you have followed the logical path of H.E.L.P to reach here.
Provide the promised course of action
This is a direct offshoot of the previous step. Ensure you fulfill the promise right away and inform the customer immediately. Often it may not be possible to resolve a problem quickly; following up with the customer at regular intervals helps in soothing frayed nerves.
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