I returned recently from a cruise where so many mistakes were made, I decided to revisit this topic. Mistakes are to be expected, I get that, but knowing how to recover an angry or frustrated customer into a loyal customer is a learned art. A Customer Focused Attitude is critical for successful service recovery. Employees need to be trained to anticipate and identify potential problems, as well as have the experience to make decisions and to deliver skillful solutions to customer problems.
You are in business, which means you have customers that have absolutely made you feel this way. We have all been put in that tough position of dealing with a very unhappy, angry, and/or irrational customer, and at times, we have a hard time keeping our cool. Here are some simple quotes (that we are revisiting from before), along with my take on them, which will give you advice and tips for handling these tough customers and situations...
One of the most effective approaches is to take full responsibility for the lack of communication. After all, it may well be that your question was unclear. Why not give the other person the benefit of the doubt? You might confess you don't remember whether she gave you the information you needed...or acknowledge that you may not have grasped her explanation. Unless the person is being evasive, she'll be glad to comply.
- Jo-Ellan Dimitrius, Ph.D., and Wendy Patrick Mazzarella, Reading People
Think about the last three times you became upset about something in your personal life. It's almost a certainty that at least one of those situations was caused by the fact that your limits were crossed. You probably didn't articulate those limits in advance. For example, your neighbor comes over unannounced to chat. You have only a few minutes to spare, but you fail to tell your visitor. Out of kindness, you listen while your blood pressure rises as the neighbor talks for an hour.
-Michael C. Donaldson, Negotiating for Dummies
A top executive in a public relations firm has a favorite saying for clients who are at a loss about what to reveal: "When all else fails, try the truth." In business, as in life, telling the truth—no matter the short-term consequences—is far more beneficial than getting caught in a deception. People are generally forgiving, almost to a fault. But deceive them and they will remember it for a long, long time. "Try the truth" applies to everyone in the workplace: the boss, the manager, the new employee, the client, the contractor.
- Emily Post's The Etiquette Advantage in Business