Resolve Customer Issues … 3 more sticky ones!

Customer Problem ResolvedIn a recent post entitled, Resolve Customer Issues … 3 sticky ones! I outlined three tough customer issues and offered some recommendations. As you well know, there are more than three customer issues. So, I am presenting three more along with some recommendations.

Customer Refuses to Deal with Correct Person
The customer may have had a negative experience with a particular person in the organization or department and refuses to go back to that associate, even though that person is the one with the answers to solve the service issues. This may be difficult to handle. It may be necessary to reroute the customer to someone with the correct answers to the problem even if the customer has had a bad experience with that person. My recommendation is to accompany the customer during the problem resolution discussion. The customer will feel that they have an advocate. If you follow this recommendation, the outcome is more likely to succeed. When there are personality conflicts between a customer and other team members, avoid letting your own loyalty to one or the other affect your judgment.

Suggested Response – “Ms. Smith, I’m sorry that you had an unsatisfactory experience with Jean. I wish we had someone else with her expertise to help you, but she is really the expert in the [named] field. What are your ideas on how we might resolve this?” [Create a queue card for your Custom Response.]

The Angry Customer
The telephone rings and you answer it. Without warning, the customer or client begins speaking in a very angry and hostile manner and you do not know why. Take notes so that after the customer has vented you can begin to ask some background questions. Lower your volume level and speak slowly. This will help the customer to reduce the anxiety level.

Rightly or wrongly, you must assume the responsibility for understanding the customer. Your goal is to convert the customer into your helper. As you get the customer to speak more slowly, you also reduce the likelihood of further escalation. When the customer performs non-provocative actions such as repeating a particular statement, the intensity level is reduced.

Suggested Response – “Ms. Walker, I am having a little trouble keeping up with you. Could you repeat that statement and speak a little more slowly so I can be sure that I do not miss anything?” [Create a queue card for your Custom Response.]

Customer Refuses to Listen to Reason
Your customer is so angry the he refuses to hear anything you say. His primary goal seems to be remaining angry with your organization, and enjoying every moment of it. If you believe that you have done everything possible and the customer does not relent, you may say to the customer, that “based on what you have told me thus far, here is what I can do for you.” In most instances, the customer will see that you are ready to close the matter and arrive at a conclusion based on less than full information. At this point, it becomes clear that the next step is up to the customer.

You may not be able to resolve every complaint brought to you by a customer. You should expect some personal disappointment on occasion and accept that the customer’s view of the complaint cannot be satisfactorily resolved. Verify your assessment of the customer’s position on the matter. Make the customer an offer based on the information that you have.

Suggested Response – “I understand why you feel the way you do. In addition, it sounds like there is nothing I can do to change your impression of our organization. Is that right? However, here is what we can do …..” [Create a queue card with your custom response.]

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James E. McClain is the author of Successful Career Development: A Game Plan, the book upon which some of our training programs are based. He has over 30 years' experience as a corporate HR executive, small business owner with ongoing experience in career development and as a college instructor. His educational background includes a B.S. and Masters degrees Education and Certification in Financial Planning. Our promise is that "you can pay more for training but you can not buy better training." The mission is to deliver the most effective and cost effective training and development programs.

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