Unit 7 Communicating with the Unsatisfied Customer

How many times have you as a customer run into the problem of excuses. There is a problem and the sales person, technician or customer service representative is making lame excuses, namely:

  • It is the fault of the computer

  • It is the fault if the other sales clerk

  • It is the fault of the chief of the department

  • It is the fault of the system

  • It is the fault of the Government

  • It is the way it is

Sometimes it feels as if nothing is anybody’s fault or is in anybody’s department. This is poor customer service. Good customer service means accountability, responsibility and taking action to satisfy the customer.

Having discussed the importance of knowing how the customer feels and WHAT NOT TO SAY, let’s address the notion of how to communicate with an unsatisfied customer.

If your customer is unsatisfied (for just or unjust reasons) you will have to use some of the many techniques of the customer service professional to win their support and continued loyalty. When coming into contact with a customer, communicating with him/her or analyzing problems, do not forget to use the following methods or qualities of the customer service professional:

Listen: It is of primary importance when dealing with an unsatisfied complaining customer to listen attentively to his/her complaint, gripe, frustration or grievance. Be patient, attentive and friendly.

Express you are sorry:

  • “We are sorry for this mistake/problem”

  • “We are terribly sorry for this inconvenience.”

  • “How can we work to solve this problem together?”

  • “I can imagine how frustrated you are.”

Do not argue and do not interrupt. This will only worsen the situation, especially if the customer is angry. Let him speak before you try to discuss with him what has happened.

Do not lose your self-control. If you stay relaxed, customers will calm down.

Point out facts: Listen carefully- and write everything down. Do not make any comments until the customer is finished talking.

Admit the problem: if you can suggest a solution, do it. If not tell the customer what actions you will take and what actions will follow. Never make the mistake of promising something you are not able to do.

Involve the customer in problem solving: Suggest the customer alternative solutions, if they exist. Customers appreciate the opportunity to choose the ways of problem solving.

Follow-up: Make sure that the promised measures are taken. If you do not fulfill what was promised and ignore the customer’s complaint, the problem will grow. Next time it will be more difficult to solve.

Give the customer a “way out”: Sometimes customers are wrong. You should let them leave with dignity, without feeling embarrassed.

Do not question the customer’s correctness: From the very beginning you should believe that the customer may be right. Always be open minded toward the customer’s opinion, make them feel they deserve to be listened to.

Solving the Customer’s Problems

  • When you listen to the customer’s complaint you take responsibility to solve the problem.

  • Listen without interruption and with full attention

  • Behave without aggression, and without arguing

  • Do not extend excuses for the problem, and thank the customer for drawing their attention to it and helping solve it.

  • Express sympathy and full understanding

Customer service problem solving involves:

  • Ask necessary questions to get more complete information and completed picture of a situation

  • Find out exactly what the customer needs you do for them

  • Explain first what you can do, and then gently add what you cannot do

  • Discuss in detail all options, and then decide what needs to be done

  • Undertake immediately what was discussed

  • Check the result to make sure the customer is completely satisfied

Follow-Up with the Customer

We like companies that treat us well, and some people will even pay more to obtain this.

Here are some recent statistics that prove the point:

  • People spend up to 10 percent more for the same product with better service

  • When people receive good service, on average, they tell 11 people

  • When people receive poor service, on average, they tell up to 20 people

  • There is an 80 percent chance that customers will repurchase from a company if their complaint is handled quickly and pleasantly

  • If the service is really poor, 90 percent of customers won’t come back

It is extremely important to make sure that all customer service measures that were discussed or promised are in fact taken. It is not enough for the customer to experience a satisfactory telephone or face-to-face interaction. If nothing comes of the contact they will be even more frustrated and unhappy. Make sure you do whatever you have promised in a timely manner.