Principle 4 – Listen to what your Customer has to say

Whatever you do, don’t blow off your customer.  I know it’s hard when a customer is mad about something, but most often they are not mad at you – they are mad about an experience they had.

I’ve got lot’s of stories to illustrate the impact of listening vs. not listening, that resulted in a good customer response from me, or a “bad” response.  If your customer is upset, be sure to ask them questions and be sure you understand the problem before you respond . . . what you say next, will be real important . . .

A quick story – My son was moving into a condo near his college, and we went to a Staples where I have typically received good service, and still do.   I bought a desk (in a big box that needed to be put together), an internet router, and a box of paper clips.  The router & paper clips were in a bag.  My son and I started to grab the desk, when the clerk said he would help us out with it.  Nice!  I headed out the door to get the back door in our van open, and my son followed the clerk out in case he needed help.  You got it – we left the router & paper clips in the bag at the checkout stand.   The store was closed by the time we realized it.

The next day I called and a young girl answered the phone.  I told her what happened, and what I left at the store.  Her response was; “I don’t think anything was left yesterday, but I’ll look.”  Well now, that was nice of her . . . Right away, I was having one of those moments where my blood pressure went up thinking that maybe I was going to have a problem.   She found it, came back  on the phone, and told me that it was there, and I could pick it up anytime.  Ok.  Thanks.

It’s a small thing I know, but I think most of us would have had the same reaction – she’d better find that bag, or I’m going to have to go down there and blah, blah, blah . . .

The best response to me would have been, “Oh, sorry about that!  Let me go check!”

Handling an irate customer is a topic by itself, but the most important thing you can do is to listen to your customer fully explain and say what they want to say.  Ask them questions to show that you listened, and put yourself in their shoes.  THEN respond.

And it’s not just about complaints or problems, often times your customer just wants to talk a bit, a little chit-chat.  Smile, listen, and be there for your customer.  We all know when someone wants to get rid of us.  Try not to do that to your customer!

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