Customer is King

Posted On October 17, 2006 | Written by Emmanuel Oluwatosin

The [tag]customer[/tag] is always right. This holds true except when he is wrong, which is most of the time. In sales, right and wrong don’t matter. Keeping the customer satisfied and happy is what matters. Even when it seems it is the customer that is wrong, you still have to do everything to ensure that customer is satisfied. I have since found out that a satisfied customer will keep coming back.

it takes more effort to get a new customer than to keep the existing ones

Here is a formula I have used many times in handling the dreaded customer complaint. You must first take responsibility for the problem. You just have to do this even if the fault is not yours or you would not be the one who handles it. The customer doesn’t care whose fault it is. He is perturbed. He just wants you to handle it.

Here are some steps to taking responsibility when dealing with unhappy or dissatisfied customers. Not only does this method work, but it provides for self-analysis at the end to prevent the same problem from occurring again.

1. Agree with him – never argue.

2. Tell him you understand how he feels.

3. Empathize with him. Cite a similar situation that happened to you. Tell him it makes you mad, too

4. Listen all the way through. Make sure the customer has told you everything. Don’t interrupt. Ask questions.

5. Confirm he has said all he wants or needs to say.

6. Tell the customer you will handle it .

7. Do not blame others. Admit you, and/or the company, were wrong.

8. Do not pass the buck. “It’s not my job,” “I thought he said,” “She’s not here right now,” and “Someone else handles that” are never acceptable phrases to use with a customer.

9. Respond immediately. When something is wrong, people want and expect to have it fixed immediately.

10. Find some common ground other than the problem. Try to establish some rapport.

11. Use humor if possible. Making people laugh puts them at ease.

12. Figure out, communicate and agree upon a solution or resolution. Confirm it (in writing if necessary). Do it.

13. Make a follow-up call after the situation is resolved.

14. Get a letter from the customer if you can. Resolving a problem in a positive way establishes a solid base for long-term relationships. Tell the customer you would appreciate a sentence or two about how the situation was resolved.

15. Ask yourself: What have I learned? How can I prevent this situation from happening again?

Remember, the customer knows what he wants and how he wants it. He may be a lousy communicator, however, and not tell you what he’s after in a way you understand. Also, each customer thinks he’s the only one you have–treat him that way.

Think, is it really that big a deal to try and give him what he wants? Customers talk to their associates, friends and neighbors. The worse job you do, the more people he will talk to. He might talk to three people if you do a good job, and 50 if you do a bad job. You will be on the 6 o’clock news if you do a horrible job :-).

When you satisfy an unhappy customer you have a good shot at a long-term relationship. If the problem is left unresolved, the customer will surely find your competition and you would soon run out of business.

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