Problem or Opportunity? – August 13, 2018


Let’s face it, we’re all human. We, or the companies we represent, are going to make mistakes. At a minimum, we are occasionally going to fall short of our client’s expectations. So, when that unhappy client calls with a problem or complaint, will we buckle and allow their confidence in us to erode, or will we rise to the occasion and actually improve our overall relationship with them?

Here are a few tips to have your customers love you even more:

Let them vent. If they are really upset, LISTEN carefully, take notes and by all means, DON’T be defensive.

Be empathetic. Validate their concerns, and then confirm that you fully understand the situation. Ask clarification questions if needed.

DON’T place blame on them or others. If it’s a valid issue that you or your organization created, take ownership. Don’t make excuses!

Find a solution that resolves their problem AND gives them something extra as a sign of good will. Surprise them. Exceed their expectations!

Here’s an example:

Many years ago I took my mom to Cracker Barrel for lunch. She loved their chicken and dumplings (or “dumplins” as they were called where she grew up). It was the main reason we went. As we were placing our order, the server informed us that they were out of that menu item that day. My mom was obviously disappointed and reluctantly ordered something else. The server made note of what happened, and secretly informed the manager. When we finished our meal, the server brought my mom a complimentary piece of apple pie. When I went to pay the bill, the manager came out and said the lunch was on him and apologized for not having my mom’s dumplings that day. I responded that I wasn’t expecting him to do that, but he would not take my money.

Here it is ten years later, I’m sharing this story with you and I’m always looking for an excuse to go back to that location. He made that meal up at least 20-fold by my return trips!

Most, and I stress the word “most”, people understand and expect problems and hiccups to occur. When they do, treat these situations as an OPPORTUNITY to shine, exceed their expectations and build an even stronger relationship with them. You, and they, won’t be disappointed.

About the Author

Tom Miller Photo

Tom Miller’s expertise in client acquisition, relationship management, geographic expansion and strategic planning has been instrumental in his 25 years at SHAZAM. Through his work, Tom helps clients learn about the industry, build their businesses and continue to be relevant in the marketp … read entire bio


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