No matter what business vertical you are in, dealing with customers won’t always go as planned. It is important that all businesses have a customer service recovery system in place for when customer service issues arrive.
A great customer service organization will recognize the types of potential customer service issues ahead of time and provide solutions for each. Such a system allows employees to service customers in the best possible way in the face of certain customer service problems your business is likely to encounter.
Having pre-packaged customer service remedies in place will allow you to train employees and researse potential situations in advance. This will allow your employees to handle these common problems with ease and grace when they do arise. As an example – if you are in the restaurant business, it is only a matter of time before an employee spills a drink on a guest or rings in the wrong order. Since these situations are both common and recurring, it is important to plan your response to such matters in advance.
Since not every employee or customer mishap can be planned in advance, pre-packaged fixes will not cover everything. This makes it essential to create a general framework for how your business and employees cover any potential customer service issues. Building a framework around customer service is important because it is challenging to solve customers service issues from scratch without any structure. When a customer is upset or angry, employees most likely feel upset as well. With the mix of emotion happening, even the most trained and professional employees have a difficult time handling customer issues.
Below are the 4 steps we recommend for creating your framework:
- Make time to listen
- Acknowledge & apologize
- Meet your customer’s expectation of a solution
- Act and follow up
Make Time to Listen
-Stop what you are doing and show the customer you are listening
-Make sure your body language shows you are listening. Face and look directly at the customer.
-After the customer has explained, ask questions to make sure you fully understand your customer’s situation.
Acknowledge & Apologize
-Start by acknowledging that you are aware of the situation.
-Even if you feel the customer is at fault, acknowledge that you understand what they are experiencing.
-Sincerely apologize to the customer.
Meet Your Customers Expectation of a Solution
-Align yourself with your customers expectation for what a solution should look like. Determine what might be acceptable to them and for you to make that happen
-Once aligned, explain the agreed upon solution.
-Commit to resolving the issue for the customer.
Act & Follow Up
-Resolve the issue for the customer.
-Follow up with members on your team who were assigned part of the resolution.
-Follow up with the customer to make sure they are happy.
-Examine the situation and try to learn from the error.