Disgruntled customers can easily turn a workday sour. It’s easy to try and rush through these interactions just to get them over with, according to a press release. However, author and UP! Your Service founder and chairman Ron Kaufman believes it’s worth the time to turn these “wrongs” into “rights” to improve customer satisfaction and capture new business.
“By using a customer complaint to uplift your service, you not only transform that shopper's experience from a negative one to a positive one; you turn him or her into an evangelist for your organization,” Kaufman says in the release. “Furthermore, you gain valuable insight into what many other customers think about your organization, and most importantly, how you can improve your service.”
Thank them for the complaint. The customer should still be thanked for choosing your businesses, Kaufman states. This allows you to give positive recognition immediately.
Don’t be defensive. Customers get confused and they can exaggerate situations and even lie when they are angry, according to Kaufman. Getting defensive only elevates the disagreement.
“When a customer complains, they're doing so because they feel wronged in some way,” explains Kaufman, in the release. “You don't have to agree with what they're saying. But you do have to agree to hear them out. That's how you keep the conversation moving in a positive direction.”
Acknowledge what’s important to them. Customers often get angry because their values have been violated. Your company didn’t deliver on something they value, reports the release. “When you validate what a customer values, you aren't agreeing with them that your service is slow or that your staff is rude,” adds Kaufman, in the release. “You're saying, ‘We agree with you on what you find important and what you value. And we want to deliver in those areas.’”
Use judo, not boxing. Don’t try and punch your opponent to the ground like you’re a boxer, says the release. Work with the unhappy customer to find a solution.
“When you show a customer you understand what they value, you're catching them off guard with your own movement,” notes Kaufman, in the release. “They don't expect you to tell them that they're right. Suddenly, just as you might do in judo, you've avoided a defensive confrontation and you can spin them. In judo, you'd spin them to the ground. In customer service, you use the opportunity to show the customer that you're now both on the same side and you can work together.”
Explain the company’s desire to improve. Appeal to your customer’s values. Show the customer things your company does that help you perform well in that area, states the release.
“Show you are sincere about your commitment to do well in the areas the customer values,” says Kaufman, in the release. “At the very least, you can say, ‘I'm going to make sure everyone in the company hears your story. We don't want this to happen again.’ When you express the company's desire to improve, you start on the path to rebuilding its credibility with the customer.”
Copyright, Ron Kaufman. Used with permission.
Ron is author of The New York Times best-selling book Uplifting Service. For more information and free tools, visit www.UpYourService.com.