Dealing With Upset Customers
Customer service expert John DiJulius writes regularly in Multi-Unit Franchisee magazine. He's an authority on what he calls, "world-class customer experience," and numerous big companies have turned to him for advice on raising the bar and setting the standard that exceeds customer expectations.
Here's an excerpt from a column he wrote:
Handling Unreasonable and Irrational Customers
When emotions are involved, logic disappears. Emotions outpower and manipulate our reasoning and lead to action. It's no accident that customer experience can trigger a wide array of emotions that can have a great influence on repeat business. Sometimes we don't know why we like going to a certain place, nevertheless something drives us to stop there. We may try to find a logical excuse, perhaps pointing to convenience or some other factor. But the truth is, the business delivered a unique experience that leaves a subconscious impression. On the other hand, negative thoughts about a brand are often caused by a poor experience that left a permanent blot in our memory.
It can be confusing and frustrating for employees when customers react unreasonably to something that seems minor. However, when a customer has expectations--not unrealistic expectations, but simple ones about what it will be like to do business with you--and the business fails to deliver, the customer can get emotional. Even though it may have been the first time the company messed up, the customer may still react irrationally.
Daniel Kahneman, a psychology professor at Princeton, is a Nobel Prize winner for his research proving we behave emotionally first, rationally second. As human beings, our emotions are the most powerful factor in how we respond and interact with others. For that reason, it is critical that dealing with customer emotions--especially for dissatisfied customers--be part of employee service-recovery training. Once employees understand there is a good probability of a customer's reacting emotionally instead of rationally, they won't take it personally and are better able to make a brilliant comeback. The watchword for employees should be QTIP--Quit Taking It Personally.
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