Benchmark Business Group

Use Customer Service Correctly To Mitigate Tension

October 27, 2020

Customer Service. It’s two words that pack a lot of meaning. Many small businesses pride themselves on providing great service. In fact, it’s what they promise and how they try to stand out from the competition.

Yet, even when promising amazing customer service, your business could still mess up or a client will believe they have a reason to be upset. Those moments can be tense.

Imagine for a moment that you’re holding two magnets in your hand. When you put them close together you can feel them trying to push apart. That’s the tension that is often felt when customer service is called into question by a client.

With magnets, it’s easy to change the tension. You simply flip one of the magnets over and suddenly, instead of tension the magnets are pulled together. With customer service, it’s not that easy. However, the start of great customer service begins with the lesson from magnets.

When your customer service promise falls short, you have a choice. You can choose to fight against the issue creating tension, or you can work with the client. This might seem like common sense, but there’s a lot of ways that a business can create tension and work against the customer without realizing what they are doing. Common ways of increasing tension when trying to solve a customer service issue include:

  • Explanations that sound like excuses
  • Not apologizing
  • An apology that doesn’t seem sincere
  • Not listening but offering a discount right away
  • Not showing empathy

You can have the right intentions when trying to solve a customer service issue, but still create tension. As a leader, you may personally handle unhappy customers successfully. However, your business is at risk if your team isn't as skilled or knowledgeable as you. In our Inspired Action Series, Dealing with Difficult Clients, we offer a step-by-step process that ensures your business doesn’t knowingly create tension when handling an issue. Here are two tips that you can implement right away to improve your customer service:

  • Don’t rush to a discount or give away something for free. An upset client wants to be heard. If your “go to” answer is to discount the product or service, or give them something for free, the client may walk away thinking you didn’t listen and that the business doesn’t care. Yes, some clients will want a discount. The key is to listen to the client and engage them in ways to solve the issue. If you take the action before they are heard they may not see it as a sincere gesture.
  • Apologize, but know what you are apologizing for. Why is the client really upset? An apology can backfire if it’s not what the client really cares about. For instance if a client is upset their order didn't arrive on time are they upset that it was delayed or are they upset that they didn’t know? The lack of communication is the root cause for many issues. A great customer experience means understanding not just the symptoms of the issue, but why they are upset and making the apology appropriate to their experience.

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