Somebody Screwed Up..
Last week I wrote about talking at your clients rather than with them. Listening to them and being engaged in the conversation is important. Just as important are the words you choose, and how you respond. I can’t tell you how many phone conversations I’ve overheard between agents and clients that made me cringe. The point was driven home for me yesterday when I was on the receiving end of a bad customer service experience.
But It Wasn’t My Fault!
Without going into details about which company just lost my account… a problem arose, and I called for help. It was a situation in which a supervisor needed to step in on my behalf to make it right. After a series of missteps by other employees of his firm, the reaction of the supervisor was to try to find out WHO had dropped the ball (and was adamant that it wasn’t him!) rather than try to fix the problem. At that point, I didn’t care whose fault it was, I just wanted the situation rectified, quickly. All that he was hearing, though, was that I was upset, and he didn’t want to be blamed.
Just Fix It, Okay?
He wasn’t hearing me. It took me interrupting to say, “Can you do (this) to fix it?” before he gave a solution any thought. Why did I have to refocus him on the task at hand? How many times, working with our clients, are we more worried about making sure that we haven’t been the cause of the problem, rather than focusing on being part of the solution? Fixing the problem is what the client wants, and in many cases that diffuses the anger that the situation has occured at all. Just starting with a “how can I help?” is a fantastic beginning to most of these conversations: now you know exactly what your client wants. Go do your best to make it happen.
I can promise you the next time a client calls me and has a problem, I’m going to do everything in my power to fix it, or find out how to help them fix it, before I even think about why the problem happened. Certainly, if it was something preventable, I can look at that later and try to make sure it doesn’t happen again. But I’ll make sure my client is happy first.
image via: flickr