Thursday, September 15, 2011

What To Do When the Customer is Wrong

In the business world there are always challenges, but most pale in comparison to the challenge of dealing with people. One of the most revered times in any customer service transaction is when the customer is wrong and employees know it. The old motto is that the customer is always right; however, this should seldom be taken literally. This motto should be interpreted conceptually as, a client should always be given patience, understanding and education to make the right decisions for themselves.

Never lose your cool
No one knows more about a company’s processes, products, services and procedures than the employees who work there every day. For this reason, it is easy for employees to get frustrated with customers who cannot seem to grasp a concept that an employee knows so well. Some customers will be adamant about being correct when they are not; this is where a client service agent must exercise patience and understanding. They must empathize and realize that this person may simply need a little more education on a subject or perhaps a different explanation approach. It is important for employees to never lose their temper or become noticeably upset or agitated with a customer. These behaviors may only enrage a person further or make a situation worse. This is also a sure fire way to lose business and begin building a reputation for poor service. Using phrases like “let me explain it differently” or “does that make sense?” are great dis-armors for agitated customers who are too frustrated to listen or understand.

Customers are not wrong
It is very tempting to tell someone they are wrong when you know you are right. This may be fine in a personal situation but in a business relationship, it is the kiss of death. Customers that are told flat out that they are wrong will feel alienated, discouraged or insulted. Once a customer feels this way, there is little that can be done to bring them back. If the relationship can be resolved, it may cost the company more than that customer is worth in most cases. That is why service representatives must never utter the words “you are wrong” to a customer. Instead, phrases like “tell me how I can help you” or “how can I help you understand” are far less volatile and prompt the individual to offer solutions to their own problem.

The underlying theory of “the customer is always right” is not that a client is correct all the time because they are not. Instead, service representatives should take this to mean that an individual should always be afforded patience, understanding and good service no matter what behavior is being displayed. Representatives should always remain calm and collected. Once employees lose their cool, the entire relationship is lost, which can have much further reaching implications for the organization. Tactics like choosing the right words or trying a different approach with a customer should be employed to maintain a business relationship even when the customer is wrong.

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