Picture this: your customer is furious.
A bad situation has gotten worse. Anger has given way to threats.
The client has escalated the situation to senior leadership. While threatening to pull their business, and cancel their contracts, you know that the next call is probably going to be to an attorney.
It’s up to you to talk this customer off the ledge. How do you deal with the nightmare customer from hell?
There are several key strategies for dealing with this extreme customer service situation.
- Acknowledgement is not the same as acceptance. You have to see the customer’s viewpoint, if you are going to lead them to another possible outcome. Hopefully, that outcome doesn’t involve rupturing your existing relationship.
- Provide alternative outcomes. Permission is the key here, as you offer options and possibilities. Permission gives the customer the opportunity to control and choose within a difficult situation.
- Look for the first gate. A gate can remain locked, or it can open up for you. Advancing the relationship means moving through these metaphorical “gates” – conversational blocks that need to be opened. Exploring new ideas means offering clear solutions. Is your client open to a new idea? What can you do, or say, that shows your commitment to the relationship?
By looking in the direction of impact, you see the circumstances from the customer’s perspective. You’ve got to be able to tap into some emotional intelligence (EQ) to read the situation, and design a new solution.
- What is the impact of your service issue?
- What can you do, right now, to resolve and cure the problem?
- Right now, what is the biggest promise you can keep?
Some extreme customer service issues can’t be resolved, for any number of reasons. Maybe the impact of the mistake has been too great. Maybe the customer’s expectations are completely unrealistic. But, instead of focusing on what might be, concentrate on what is. Follow the facts, focus on the emotions, and provide that solution that steps the conversation forward.
To learn more about how you can change the conversation, and the customer experience, set up a time to talk here.