Read Part 1 here https://iceberg-digital.lifesycle.co.uk/blogs/part-1-what-are-the-foundations-of-great-customer-experience
A customer’s experience can make or break your company. When things go wrong, de-escalating a customer or a situation is fundamental to recovering your relationship and moving forward. If you can’t calm them down, you can’t keep their house on the market or continue to provide services for their let. But what about apologizing for something that is not your fault? No one wants to do that – and no one wants to hear it! Here are some simple steps that will help you show genuine concern without being over the top or apologizing for anything you didn’t do.
1. Apologies vs Empathy: ‘I apologise, your mum died.’ ‘Partner, I apologise, I missed your birthday.’ Doesn’t sound genuine does it? Apologies are necessary evils, sure, but make sure to keep a genuine tone and only say sorry when you’ve made a mistake. When someone says they are sorry to you, it can be awkward. Instead, offer empathy.
Empathy is very different from sympathy. Everyone’s heard the various phrases about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. How would you feel if you were going through this? Tell them. Then follow up with something else from the below list. Find a way forward instead of wallowing in apologies or empathy.
2. Show that you know this is urgent: Life is busy and both our work and personal life is full of people all needing something from you and ALL of it involves time you may not feel you have most days. Take a breath, and try to remember that for you, this might be a very small issue in a line of dozens, but to the client it is everything. They wouldn’t have mentioned or called you otherwise. Let them know you know how important this is and then…
3. Assure your customers you will help: You can’t always fix everything – if you think you can, it is time to take off the cape and take a breather from trying to fly. The big secret about showing your customers concern is that you don’t have to fix everything. Instead, you can be there to support your customers through the issues. Remind your customers that you are the specialist and, if you cannot fix it, you will be there with them guiding them through with your knowledge and experience. Us humans are all about connection and having your knowledge, support and understanding will remind them that you are by their side and on their team. Of course, if you can fix the problem – go on then!
4. Set clear expectations: Clients are very often scared but will rarely admit it. They are in an unknown situation, feeling lost and needing guidance. Explain what you are going to do and why – what steps they need to take and why. Explaining the why is so very important because it will give them a solid foundation when thinking back on this.
5. Make your customers feel involved: This is easy – when you have clearly set the expectations, ask them if this is okay with them? This will give them some semblance of control even in a situation where they feel very off-balance.
6. Promises: Make promises you can keep – even if it is only to say I will contact you on this day and time with some sort of an update. The update can be something as simple as we are still waiting for something. The point is you kept your promise to update them.
As with anything, the more often you practice using these steps, the easier it will become and your customers will thank you for it!