Picking up where I left off with my last post, I’ll discuss the third of four themes that we have to understand and master in our customer service process.
Theme 3: Don’t Personalize It
Don’t get sucked in. In dealing with difficult and upset customers it is important to remember this excerpt from the Prayer of St. Francis: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” In a heated conversation where someone is challenging your competency (or worse) it is easy to let your emotions take over. When this happens you stop listening. When you stop listening you’ll get sucked in to a verbal battle that will serve neither party well. Remember that when you make a customer mad they will generally leave. So don’t get sucked in!
Be responsible. There’s a world of difference between taking something personally and taking personal responsibility. If you make a mistake, have the courage to be honest and take responsibility for the mistake. Take the time to explain how the error occurred and what you will do to remedy the situation. When we take personal responsibility it leads to happy customers.
Take it seriously, but don’t take it personally. Learn to view complaints and feedback for what it really is – a gift. When a customer takes the time to tell you what they think about your product or service, they generally are not planning to stop doing business with you. If they intend to do business elsewhere, you will probably get a “Dear John” letter (if you are lucky) and more likely hear nothing at all until you discover they are doing business with another company.
When receiving feedback, thank the customer for bringing the matter to your attention. Assure them that it will be given serious consideration and that someone will respond to them to explain how the matter was resolved and what changes, if any, will be taken. Then, once again, keep your promises.
“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary.
It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body.
It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”
~ Winston Churchill