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Turn Angry Customers into Loyal Customers

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Turn Angry Customers into Loyal Customers Powered By Docstoc
					Turn Angry Customers into Loyal Customers
It's one thing to deal with an angry customer. It's another to deal with an angry customer who's
right because you've made a blunder. The key to making your customer service successful is not
only to soothe the angry customer, but to turn this person into a loyal customer. Believe it or not,
it's possible to use this situation to your advantage to show your customer how far you are willing
to go to keep his/her business.

Customer service experts look at this as a four-step process:

Step 1: Acknowledge -- let the customer know that you've made an error.
Step 2: Apologize -- state clearly and sincerely that you regret making the error.
Step 3: Rectify the problem -- fix any mistake you've made, no questions asked.
Step 4: Go one better -- don't just fix the problem; go the extra step to make sure you give the
customer incredible service.

Click on the following five scenarios to see how to put this into action:

       rude service
       shoddy/defective merchandise
       late delivery
       screw-ups
       voice jail

Rude service

        Example: A diner in a busy restaurant becomes furious with a brusque waiter.

        Solution: Acknowledge the diner's complaint, apologize, assign another waiter to the
        table and offer the customer a complimentary dessert. "Give the customer a reason to
        return," advises Rebecca Morgan, a business communication expert and author of
        "Calming Upset Customers" (Crisp Publications). "In order to keep a good customer, you
        must be prepared to go that extra mile by showing you truly value their business. Giving
        lip service and making excuses are not enough."

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Shoddy or defective merchandise

        Example: A customer storms in to return a "defective" computer that he/she apparently
        misused.

        Solution: It's a touchy situation if a customer misused or mishandled the product. Having
        a "No Returns" policy is not good idea -- you need to show you are flexible and that you
        stand by what you sell. Whatever happened, be gracious and don't make a customer feel
        stupid for being careless or misusing the product. If you can, replace the product and eat
        the cost - what you are losing in return you will make up in loyalty. If you can't exchange
        the product (it's a one-of-a-kind item, for instance), try to de-escalate his/her anger and
        frustration with an alternative solution. Apologize for not being able to replace the
        merchandise. Offer to repair it for free, and give a 10-20 percent discount on the person's
        next purchase.

                                         Back to Scenarios

Late delivery

        Example: A shop or factory is brought to a standstill because an important delivery of
        raw materials didn't arrive on time.

        Solution: Don't wait until after the fact to inform customers. Ward off ugly confrontations
        by alerting your customers of delays as soon as you become aware of them. You might
        say, "I'm calling to tell you that our trucks had to be rerouted because of a blizzard in the
        Midwest." In emergency situations where you fear losing customers because of late
        deliveries, it's best to over-communicate. It shows you're not only on top of the situation,
        but that you also care. Even though the late delivery is no fault of yours, take
        responsibility and give your client a discount on the next shipment. If you plan to create
        contingency policies to avoid future late deliveries, tell your customers about them. But,
        don't make promises you don't plan to keep. It could come back to haunt you. Good
        customers don't forget a promise.

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Screw-ups

        Example: An advertising agency puts the wrong phone number in a print ad.

        Solution: Acknowledge the mistake, apologize, and then make good on it. Fix the ad
        immediately for free (not cost), with all other projects going on the back burner. Call the
        publication and tell them to pull the ad immediately. Eat any costs involved, including the
        cost of placing a new ad with the correct information. If you catch the mistake before the
        client sees it, don't be mute -- tell the client about it immediately. You may risk losing the
        customer, but chances are it will prove to be smart business to show you're willing to
        admit a problem and rectify it.

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Voice jail

        Example: Anxious to speak to a human being to place an order for a product, a customer
        gets lost in the automated answering system, and when, after 5 minutes of pressing the
        "#" sign, gets connected to a real person only to be told immediately to "please hold" and
        gets transferred to a voicemail instructing them to leave a message.

        Solution: The best way to calm a justifiably frustrated customer is to fix the system. But,
        that can't always be done immediately. After you acknowledge and apologize, offer the
        caller a short-cut or faster way to reach you -- "Next time you call, immediately hit '0' and
        ask the operator to page me. That should save you time." They'll appreciate the
        information and feel good about receiving special treatment. Additionally, it is essential
        that a person transferring a call makes sure the party they're transferring to is present, or
        asks the caller if he/she would like to leave a voicemail message. Be sure to train your
        human "answerers" in this technique.
Ken Roys, CEO
BTF Management Consultants Inc
866-385-1900 Toll Free 713-983-7904 Fax
Ken.Roys@btfmanagement.com
www.btfmanagement.com



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