The Lucky Seven of Customer Service
I’m giving thanks this month for family, friends and happy customers. Here are seven of my favorite ways to build loyalty and keep customers happy.
1. I Like That, Too!
There is a psychological concept that says we generally like people more when they are more like us. In customer service, recreating this “liking” can often be achieved by finding common ground. Do you like the same cars, sports teams, go to the same church, or did you or your kids go to the same schools? The more things in common you find, the stronger the chances they will come back.
2. Give Credence to Complaints
Nobody likes complaints, but studies show that between 70-90 percent of customers are willing to do business with you again if you can success fully resolve their issue the first time around. Use the old CARP method of dealing with unhappy customers:
• Control the situation.
• Acknowledge the problem
• Refocus the conversation
• Problem solve so the customer leaves happy
3. Low and Slow Wins the Day
Speak slowly and quietly when addressing the complaint. Don’t rush, or seem rushed. There is nothing more important than the customer right now.
4. Three Steps to Get Them Back
You’ve got to make sure the customer is happy when they leave. Make sure the customer knows these three important things from you:
• You care about getting it right.
• You’re willing to keep going until you get it right.
• The customer is the one who deter- mines what right is.
5. It’s About the Ears
There’s an old expression, “Listen, don’t just wait for your turn to talk.” There are four components to active listening:
• Clarifying: Ask questions to show you understand a customer’s position.
• Paraphrasing: Reword what a customer just said to confirm you understand, and put it into words that will help you resolve it.
• Feelings: Using phrases like “that must have made you angry” or “I can imagine how you feel” demonstrates empathy and shows that you’re pay ing attention.
• Summarizing: Finishing a conversation with a quick summary of the most important points ensures that everyone’s on the same page.
6. I Don’t Know
It’s tempting to make something up or take your best guess when somebody thinks you’re an expert, but it’s a mistake. Instead, admit it by saying, “I don’t know, but here’s what I’ll do to find out.” Then set a time to get back to your customer with an answer.
7. Surprise! Keep them happy after the problem. It really is the thought that counts! The secret ingredient is surprise. An act of kindness leaves a bigger impact when it is unexpected. Look for opportunities to surprise customers with a small freebie or some sort of treat.
DAVID PRANGE is with ITW, suppliers of Full Throttle and Heartland products to the fast lube industry. He is available for training on a wide variety of topics and can be reached at 800.378.7891 or: firstname.lastname@example.org