Customer Experience News & Trends

How to get out of 7 sticky customer situations

5. TMI! Customers reveal more than you need to know

Customer experienceMost customers like small talk (in small doses) — perhaps about the weather, sports, pop culture or art. Plus, small talk builds rapport and strengthens relationships.

Then there are the customers who want to tell you about their sore feet, lackluster love life, failed business ventures and disobedient children. Too much information, right?

So how do you deal with customers who step beyond professional talk and cordial banter into information that shouldn’t really be discussed during a business conversation?

“Delicate situations call for delicate language and handling,” says Beverly Morgan, customer service manager at Hefner Furniture and Appliances in Poplar Bluff, MO. That’s why the long-time customer experience pro is careful when talking with people who want to share a lot. She might say that the topic is something she’s not familiar with and maybe the customer would be better off talking about it with a close friend or family member.

“Then you can thank them for something and end with, ‘I’m sure you have a lot to do, and I won’t delay you anymore,'” Morgan says.

6. Customers are sick of you

155251559We have so many communication channels that it’s easier than ever to keep in touch with customers. Problem is, many customers don’t want to hear from you as often as you want to be in contact with them. They’re overwhelmed by their email inboxes, text messages, phone calls and social media updates.

So what will you do when they complain that you’re contacting them too much or say they don’t want to hear from you? How do you avoid crossing that fine line between staying in touch and being a nuisance?

“I’d coordinate with the key departments (that reach out to customers) so they receive messages from one person,” says Susan Hazard, customer service rep at Pinnacle Publishing in Bemidji, MN. “In the future, I’d allow customers to request articles or follow-up calls on orders.”

Another key: Pay close attention to account history. Dale Smith, customer service manager at NOV Fiber Glass Systems in Little Rock, AR, says, “I’d recommend we take an order history into account when we communicate. For example, if a customer usually orders monthly and skips a month, then we’d make a call.”

7. Customers want you to bend the rules

99029552Most policies and procedures are in place for good, business-focused reasons. But customers don’t always see it that way, and they want or expect someone — namely front-line service pros — to bend or break the rules for them.

So what can you do when a growing number of customers want the rules changed?

“I’d use a three-point process,” says Tina Opperman, account manager at Volt Workforce Solutions in Newark, CA. “I’d let clients know their concerns about policies are heard and that their feedback is being considered or resolved. Two, I’d give clients options so they’re engaged in the solution and don’t feel powerless. And three, I’d follow through on their concerns about the policies so what is promised is done.”

Marc Mize, VP wireline sales and technical services at TelWorx in Lexington, NC suggests reviewing policies regularly to be sure they still make sense for the company and customers.

“Policies don’t make good business sense unless there’s data that proves they improved financial portions of business,” Mize says. “A few customers who abuse one policy may have forced a decision to implement a new one that many customers will use as a reason to look at the competition.” And that’s one good reason to make sure policies are flexible.

Pages: 1 2

Subscribe Today

Get the latest customer experience news and insights delivered to your inbox.