The Pissed Off Customer ! Oh God !!

Never   mind   the fact whether the customer is King or not. But a pissed off customer can nevertheless ruin your entire day or your company if he wishes so. Having an ombudsman for every single industry doesn’t help either. Particularly when your customer has read those one page ads in paper or even worse, saw a poster at your own workplace which literally stimulates them to get in touch for any unaddressed dispute.

Check out these three ideas which could help save your day or still better your a$$.
Sounding positive: Whether you like it or not. Your company policies are there to stay. Unless you have a better way of doing things without spending more money and are able to convince your top management through the “Share your Ideas” section of your intranet don’t waste your time in arguing with its logic. So if your company policy says, customer refunds take 10 working days, here are two ways of putting it across. Which one should you choose ?
Customer: So when do I get my cheque refund?
Response 1: Sir, … ( Sigh ) it’s going to take at least 10 working days.
Response 2: Sir, the refund policy is now fully automated to avoid errors and it takes only 10 working days for the cheque to get refunded.
Presenting choices/alternatives:  A customer always finds it easier to take a decision or feels better when offered a manageable bouquet of choices. So never hastily jump to conclusions and screw up the interaction without thinking about alternate solutions.
Brush up your company policies from time to time to remain abreast of alternative solutions as well as changes. Talk to other colleagues and find the right workarounds to help find better solutions.
Customer: I would like to pay my outstanding phone bills.
You : Sir , you can make the payment at any of the company outlets.
Customer: But ‘m unable to find time to do that as I’m extremely busy this week.
You: Sir, you would have to pay a late payment penalty of Rs 150 if you do not make the payment. Hence it is in your best interest to make the payment within a day or two.
Customer: O.k. will try my best to make the payment soon.
Is there any guarantee that this customer would have paid up in time? Does he have a credit card? If yes, can he pay online? Can you arrange for a pickup boy to collect the payment from his office?  Is he interested in Auto debit facility? Who knows? You will never know that unless you find the time to think about alternatives and advise the customer accordingly.
Giving complete and correct information: A friend of mine had this Personal Loan sales executive of his, who used some crude form of reverse psychology whenever any applicant approached him asking for a loan. The first thing he used to mention was the charges which included the processing fee, prepayment penalty, pre-emi and what not. Of course he never lasted beyond a few months in the system. So should we lie or give incomplete information to the customer?  Such short term myopia has led to several escalations to consumer forums and ombudsmen resulting in loss of face/image and money to corporations. The best example would be the infamous case of sub par debt, neatly packaged and beautified with stellar ratings, being sold off to gullible investors which led to several law suits being filed during the advent of the Historic Recession just 3 years back. As the legendry investor Warren Buffet once said,  you only know who has been swimming naked, when the tide goes out.
So sounding positive, presenting choices and alternatives and always giving correct and complete information to the customer will help win customers and that coveted Service Award you have been earning for. I guarantee you that.

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