- “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.”
Throughout your customer service career, it is probable that you will be confronted with situations you would have preferred to have avoided. “Big” problems, such as an angry, threatening, aggressive customer are great challenges, but are also rare. However, our days are often seeded with “small” problems or delicate situations that are difficult to manage, based on their trivial-looking nature and the absence of processes and guidelines. When it comes to either saying “no” to a client, share bad news, or give an apology, most people are not comfortable with confronting these delicate situations.
However, these situations are inevitable – one must tackle them. If they’re ignored, they risk becoming difficult situations that are even harder to manage and If ignored, they may become difficult situations to manage and your professionalism and your credibility could be questioned.
When a customer thanks you for your services, avoid responding with “no problem” or “no worries”. Although your intention is good, some customers may get offended. They may wonder why there would be a problem if the task is simply part of your job? Are you implying the customers need could potentially be a hassle or an inconvenience?
Here are a few alternatives for a successful exchange of appreciation:
Words matter. Choose them carefully, especially when acknowledging a “thank you.”
When working with customers of different cultures we should be aware that the way we communicate and what we communicate can be interpreted differently.
One example is when you are explaining something and the customer is saying yes and nodding his head throughout the interaction. Within our culture we have a tendency to assume that those verbal and non-verbal clues mean they agree to what we are saying and understand what needs to be done. It may be quite frustrating when you realize at the end of it all that he didn’t agree or didn’t understand.
This is a common predicament when working with cultures that favour politeness over frankness.Particularly in Asian countries, it is common for people to agree to do a task even when they don’t know what they're supposed to do rather than ask for further instructions.
To avoid not really knowing whether a customer understands what you are explaining or requesting, ask them to repeat back the information.This way you can work out whether you need to change what you are saying to get your message across.
Remember that politeness over frankness generally means you will find it difficult to have discussions and feedback, you will have to seek it proactively and not expect it naturally.
In any organization of more than two people, there's the opportunity to escalate a problem.
When the software doesn't work, or the customer is in a jam or something's going sideways, you can hand the problem up the chain. Escalation not only brings more energy to the problem, but it spreads the word within the organization. And, even better, it keeps you from losing the customer.
Here's the thing: at some point, organizations start training their people not to escalate. They fear staff will cry wolf, or they get tired of pitching in.
The moment this happens is the moment you begin to give up on your customers.
Either give your front line the power to fix things, on the spot, or encourage them to call for help when it's needed.
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