Check out our new projector section click here. You will find reviews on the latest LCD projectors and DLP projectors for business presentations.
Man does not live by words alone,
despite the fact that sometimes he has to eat them.
"That's not my job,"
stated the clerk flippantly with a touch of body
language to exasperate the situation even further. The customer stood
there with her mouth half open. You could almost see the steam coming
out of her ears. It was certainly not the response she wanted to hear!
How many times have you walked into a store or called a company and received
a response that turned up the hair on the nape of your neck? Words are
powerful. They can hurt or soothe. Some combination of words create an
immediate negative reaction or image for the receiver of the communication.
When my brother and I would throw verbal volleys at each other, my mother
would frequently remind us of Thumper's comment to Flower in Bambi. "If
you can't say something nice, then don't say anything at all." We
can hurt our customers and potential customers or have them walk away
happy and glad they either called or came into our business simply by
using words with a positive twist. It is how we combine and state our
words and the voice and body inflection we use that can turn a frustrated
customer into a happy one.
Let us look at some of the frustrating statements you have heard and
discover how, through simple rephrasing, a negative can be turned into
The phone immediately clicks and the operator is gone,
leaving the client stranded and frustrated. The tone of the operator's
voice indicates she is hurried and really does not have time for one more
interruption. The customer feels as though they have never had control
of the situation and are angered by receptionist's lack of response to
their needs. What if this had been an emergency? A simple "Would
you hold please?" would have resolved the situation. Put the request
in the form of a question. It allows the customer to feel in control and
make a choice.
Well, who is this?
My gut feeling is to respond by saying "none of your business!"
A better question to ask is "May I tell him who's calling?"
This places the caller in control of the situation and they can choose
whether to disclose their name.
What's this about?
Once again, I always want to respond with a flippant statement. This confrontational
question can be restated in a non-threatening manner. "May I tell
her what this is regarding?" is a much more pleasant question and
places the caller at ease. The caller is once more in control of the conversation.
Just a minute and I'll be right
back. The customer is placed
situation where they have no choice. Whenever possible, give the customer
options or ask for permission to take your next action. Try "It might
take me a few minutes (or however long it may really take) to find that
information. Would you like to hold or can I call you back?"
Well that department is wrong!
This statement places blame on another section or person within the business.
It does not represent your company well and is a technique for passing
the buck or placing the blame elsewhere.
The customer does not care who
is wrong, they just want the situation corrected regardless
of where the mistake was made. "Let me see how I can fix this for
you," shows a willingness to rectify the situation and places the
customer at ease. It is an immediate tension reliever and begins to dissipate
a customer's angry feelings.
It's back there someplace,
is not the response a customer wants when they ask where they can find
an item. Maybe the customer has just walked the aisle five times and still
can not find the product they want. Or maybe this is the first...and quite
possibly the last...time they have been in your store and they have no
idea where the different departments are located. You have three choices
when asked the location of a product. The first and best response is "let
me show you." If however you are unable to take the customer to the
item, then give them a complete description of where the item can be found,
"it's on aisle 5, about halfway back, right side, lower shelf."
If you do not know the location then be honest and find out. "Good
Let me get someone who can show/tell you."
We can't do that,
will put a wall of defensiveness up as fast as any
statement. Remember to tell the customer what you can do, not what you
can't. "That's a great question. We can..." is more pleasant
to hear and gives the customer alternatives to select from.
It's the company policy.
Customers do not care what the organizational policies or rules are. Remember,
95% of the policies are made for 5% of the customers that will always
ask for the exception. "Normally we don't do that.
In your case, I'll gladly make
an exception." This really makes the client feel
special. It lets them know it is not the normal company policy and yet
there are always exceptions to the rules and a willingness to satisfy
the customer's needs.
It's not my job.
The customer really doesn't care who's job it is. They
just want a situation rectified. "I'll be glad to help you,"
or "let me get
someone from that department to help you" indicates a willingness
on your part to either help or get assistance for the individual.
That can't happen,
is like telling the customer they are lying. Even
though you believe the situation did not occur, you will never have exactly
the same experience as the customer. We all experience a given situation
differently. No two experiences will ever be the same because of our past
and our perceptions. To place the customer at ease, try "I apologize
you had that experience. Let me see how I can fix it."
You have to have...
is a demand, not a request. Our schedules limited my soon to be husband
and I to one specific day to apply for our marriage license within the
allotted time period. After driving an hour to the county seat and standing
in line for 45 minutes, we were told we did not have all the correct documents.
We were frustrated. The staff member had not provided that information
when we called about the process. There were no exceptions! We returned
home, drove back again and got our license 30 minutes before closing.
A better way to approach a request is, "We want to help you. Can
you provide us with —?" If the customer's response is no, then begin
to explore alternatives or other avenues for obtaining the information.
It's the computers fault.
The individual who does the data entry is not
a computer. So who really made the mistake, the computer or the person?
When blame is placed on an object, it is just as bad as blaming another
person or department. The customer wants resolution to the problem. Apologize
and move on. "I'm sorry you had this experience. Let me see how I
can correct it."
Words can send an upset customer into orbit. When sincerely stated,
words can also soothe and express that you are ready to help and serve.
Review some of the words and phrases you use when speaking with a customer.
Are your words magic to their ears or do they come crashing down leaving
the customer frustrated, defensive and angry? Select your words and phrases
wisely and you too will calm the raging client and win loyal customers.
Printer Friendly Version
Click here for more articles by Eileen O. Brownell.