Mar 1, 2016 | OPERATIONS

You can tell the customer interaction will be a tough one in the first few seconds. The caller’s tone of voice, accusatory language and high volume all say, “I’m going to let you have it”. How you react in these first few seconds will set the tone for the entire communication and probably either turn the customer into a hater… or a lifelong supporter. We train our staff to take a methodical approach from the start. Listening is the key to understanding the customer’s problem. You should focus on the customer’s words and make notes during the interaction, while providing feedback to let the person know you are paying attention. When it’s your turn to respond, the first thing we always say is, “I’M SORRY YOU’VE HAD A PROBLEM, I’LL DO MY BEST TO SOLVE IT FOR YOU NOW”. It’s also a good idea to use the customer’s name and to ask questions to clarify the is- sues. Ask the customer how they would like to solve the problem. Speak in positives. Once you’ve decided on a resolution, review the agreement. Be explicit about the next steps. Attempt to exceed the customer’s expectations. According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, Washington, DC, a dissatisfied customer will tell 9-15 people. Happy customers who have their problems resolved will tell 4-6 people about their positive experience. It’s hard to replace a customer, even and angry one. With a little effort and pre-planning, you can turn an unhappy customer into a lifelong supporter.

Steve Rich
Sterling Bearing Inc
Kansas City, MO
March, 2016