- “I can certainly look at it immediately.”
- “I am on it as soon as I hang up.”
- “I am on it and I’ll call you back in an hour.”
The customer is not always right… Evidently, you could make your point, even have the last word. You might even be right. However, right or wrong, your effort will be in vain: It is not possible to win an argument with a customer.
Your goal is to acquire, maintain, and increase a loyal clientele, not to be right. If you win the argument, you might damage your relationship with the customer. Whether your organization is private or public, it is always a LOSING outcome for YOU.
The customer isn’t always right but he is the customer. We have to find a fair solution that answers his requests while respecting the needs of the organization!
No customer likes to be told “no”. However, like it or not, the circumstances sometimes force us to say “no”. But, this does not have to become a negative situation.
Here are some ways to respond to the challenge:
Tell the customer what you can do.
“I can issue a credit for the value of the merchandise and you can use it at your convenience.”
With tact, explain why you cannot honour the customer's request.
“When a product works as expected, without defects, we cannot take responsibility and, as a result, we cannot offer financial compensation.”
Suggest an alternative.
“I need to get approval from my manager before I can _________________. In the meantime, I can ___________________. Does this work for you?”
Focus on the positive.
“Thank you for contacting me regarding this problem” or “The information you have given me will help us make improvements.”
Remember that you are saying “no” to the request, not to the person.
When the customer is angry, it is sometimes difficult for us to calm them down. In these situations, the polite repetition technique proves effective and helps the customer redirect towards working on solving problems rather than focusing on negative emotions.
The technique involves calmly repeating what you just said and repeating it again until the customer understands. You must not raise your voice or defend yourself, as you must keep your tone level neutraland polite.
Polite repetition can also be used when customers are not accepting your answer. They may believe that they may make you change your mind by continuing to insist or that they will get you to work around the rules for them. The polite repetition then lets the customer know that your answer is firm.
In the long run, the customer will understand and accept your answer.
There is no better example of an organization's commitment to customer service than the way it resolves customer service issues. Many organizations display signs, mission statements and slogans stating the importance of the customer. Such displays may impress and perhaps reassure the customer momentarily, but there is probably no better example of the organization’s commitment to customer service ideals and values than how customers are treated after they have been disappointed.
Effective complaint management refers to that extra effort that customers expect from you in the event that things go wrong for them. That's what keeps your “at risk” customers. In the long run, this is a way to stand out from the competition.
There will always be problems. The difference lies in what you do to keep errors to a minimum and how you manage them when they occur.
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Ville de Québec
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Xavier Aymé, Chef des opérations | Mercator Canada Inc.
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