We’ve all heard the saying “the customer is always right.” This saying implies that no matter what, the customer is right in every situation and businesses should always attend to their needs.
But, is this wisdom really wise? We’ll let you in on a little secret that many businesses are afraid to share: the customer is not always right. Some customers, in fact, just need a little guidance to show them the error of their ways.
That being said, it’s important to note that while the customer isn’t always right, they are never wrong either. Confusing? We’ll explain.
The difference between great customer service and poor customer service is the skill to successfully negotiate any gap between what the company offers and a client’s expectations. If you can clearly outline what your company does or produces, then the risk of disappointment declines.
Here are a few steps to help you come to a resolution when a customer feels he or she is right.
Listen attentively – Sympathetic listening may be difficult if you’re faced with an irate customer, but becoming defensive will only make the situation worse. After you’ve heard what the customer has to say, ask appropriate questions about what they expected.
Based on those questions, you can decide if your company was at fault. By understanding the person’s position and reasons for anger, you’ll gain a great starting point to take the appropriate steps.
If you made a mistake, own it – If your service was at fault or if the company failed the customer in any way, acknowledge that immediately and offer a resolution.
However, if any part of your customer’s disappointment doesn’t come from your service or product, be sure to point this out. If someone expected service that you do not provide, help the customer understand this and offer an alternative solution.
Make it right and share your plan – If you can resolve any issues on the spot, do so. The quicker the resolution, the happier everyone will be.
On the other hand, if you cannot resolve the issue quickly, share a plan for resolution with the customer. Match the level of compensation to the level of inconvenience to your customer, but know that sometimes a full refund isn’t necessary.
If you make a genuine effort to fairly compensate the customer for their inconvenience, you have a better chance to keep that customer.
Don’t be abused – Some customers demand special attention and will fight for an outrageous request. Identify people who abuse your services. If your company charges a flat fee for a one-time product and a customer calls you 20 times a day for help, you may need to set limitations so they don’t abuse your services.
A disciplined and professional approach to dealing with customers can help you resolve problems with them the right way