Customers come in all shapes and sizes. And some just like to complain. Constantly. And that is very frustrating, stressful, and frankly annoying. One customer can disrupt your company's entire day by making an unrealistic demand, and your team can be sent into a tailspin trying to figure out how to satisfy this ridiculous request and to make this customer happy. Or, how about the customer that calls and asks for a solution, but has no suggestions for how and what should be implemented? All of these details are then left up to you and your team, which can lead to uncertainty and a bit of insecurity since all of you might think you understand what is best, but you have nothing to guide you on how close to the mark you will be. None of these scenarios are fun, so for the betterment of our business and employees, we have to learn how to navigate through each type of customer relationship and the unique characteristics included with them. That way, we can care for each customer in a better manner, which will improve their overall satisfaction and increase the morale of your team.
When you think of training, do you only think of it with a capital "T"? You are not alone, many of our customers come to us with the same thoughts, thinking that the only effective training is the formal, longer training class. We like to educate our customers that training can be so effective in small quick hits. For example, we find that our mystery shop's evaluations are perfect to use for swift training, not only for the manager/agent that was mystery shopped, but your entire team can learn from this exercise. For example, managers can take one or two points from a shop evaluation and use those topics to train the team. Managers can generically talk about the points that were made during the shop call and use our suggestions to train the team on how best to handle those points on future customer calls or situations.
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.
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