GUEST POST from Shep Hyken
Someone asked me a question: Sometimes I’m so frustrated when I call a company’s customer service number. I try to be nice, but that doesn’t always work. What do you think if I yell at them?
Here is my answer: A couple of old expressions come to mind. First, “The squeaky wheel gets the oil,” which means if you make enough noise, you might get some action. On the other hand, another expression might be more appropriate for these situations: “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.” So, be friendly but stern. At the beginning of the conversation, note the agent’s name and try to build a rapport. This also gives you a name to reference if you aren’t getting your problem resolved. Be direct about the problem, but don’t lose your temper. If you feel you’re getting angry, stop and pause. You can ask for a supervisor. And if you really think you are 100% right and the customer support agent is wrong, consider ending the call and calling back to speak with a different agent who may respond differently. I’m amazed at how often I call a company and talk to two or more people, getting a different answer each time.
So that’s my advice for the customer. Now, let’s switch to the business on the receiving end of the customer’s disappointment and anger and discuss the problem.
I’ve covered how to handle angry customers many times, so let’s not go there again. If you go to www.CustomerServiceArticles.com, you will find many articles covering that topic. Instead, I want to emphasize the last part of my response to the question: sometimes customer service agents – and other employees – have different answers to the same questions. The problem is a training issue.
My comment about not being surprised about getting different answers comes from my experience that companies don’t often focus on answers to common sense questions. The reason is that the answers should be common sense. But that doesn’t guarantee a consistent response from one employee to the next.
Create a database of customer questions and answers, and train employees to use it. The goal is to respond with the same answer every time. When a customer doubts the answer and calls back only to get a different answer from a different employee, it erodes the customer’s confidence, not to mention the frustration the customer experiences by not getting the right answer the first time. In short, consistency creates confidence.
By the way, if you have any questions about customer service or customer experience, reach out to me on any social media channel – I’m pretty much everywhere. I’ll answer your question on social media, in my weekly customer service newsletter, on my Amazing Business Radio podcast or on my Be Amazing or Go Home TV show. And be sure to use the hashtag #AskShep.
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