Regardless of whether or not you have a "customer service" job title, it is probably true that you and/or your team will have to take on client-facing roles at some point in your careers. Whether it be through email, phone, or an in-person meeting, it is critical to know and understand the issues you may face when it comes to communicating with a client or customer in the midst of a conflict. Here are some helpful tips and tricks when approaching a few different client-facing situations effectively and appropriately (even when it's difficult...):
Never say no. There are countless scenarios one could draw up of times when a client or customer simply asked for something that was outside the bounds of your company's capabilities. Although it's easier to say, "No, I'm sorry, we can't help you with that," and move on, it's important to let them know that you are going to do your best to help them solve their problem. Utilizing positive language is one way to ease their frustrations, and another is to present them with tangible alternatives to help provide a solution for what they want. Presenting them with alternatives and options allows for the ball to be in their court, transferring power over to them, which helps them feel more in control over the issue at hand.
Something else that is important to consider when handling impossible client requests is that they're not taking advantage of you. It's easy to sit behind a screen and profusely apologize for what seems like everything, however, only apologize for your wrongdoings and mistakes. It's important to recognize your errors, but it's even more important to keep your dignity if you did your due diligence and worked hard for the client. For example, if you find yourself in a situation where a client is consistently contacting you after-hours and on weekends because they forgot to give you the information beforehand, it's okay and necessary to speak up and set boundaries with them regarding the times and days they are able to speak with you.
When facing an unhappy partner, it's easy for you yourself to get flustered and upset, as that negative energy can easily take a hold of your attitude. We've found that following these four steps can help lead to a smoother client experience:
1. Listen: Most people prefer to know that they're being heard and listened to, and sometimes (although unfair) someone will just need to take out their bad day on you. Just listen. It'll make them feel better, which will make you feel better.
2. Apologize: Again, this doesn't have to be an admittance of guilt or wrongdoing, but it is necessary to apologize for the way they are feeling, whether it be your fault or an external factor's.
3. Solve: Don't just think of a short-term fix, but go above and beyond to discover a long-term fix, ensuring that the client stays satisfied for the probability that the same issue arises again in the future.
4. Thank: They came to you with transparency and trust that you will help them fix their problem. Thank them for that!
Hopefully, this insight and these tangible steps will help to aid your next client-related conflict!
Story By: Krista Smith