Published in 2011 by McGraw-Hill, Robert Bacal‘s book Perfect Phrases for Customer Service 2nd Edition offers ‘hundreds of ready-to-use phrases for handling any customer service situation’ to improve your customer relationship management.
WIIFM – What’s In It For Me?
‘What’s in It For Me?’ may very well be the single most important question you must answer every time you find yourself face-to-face with a customer, an investor, a superior, or anyone you want to persuade and negotiate with. If your marketing and branding department answered this question correctly, you should see an increase in sales. However, an increase in sales also means an increase in potential unhappy customers, and if your product or service doesn’t perform as promised, you can be sure they will let you know!
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Recall in the book Selling Luxury: Sales & Customer Service Strategies From The Luxury Industry that:
- Everyone is a ‘luxury’ customer
- Your sales team creates the experiences that define how your brand will be remembered
- Customers refer customers
- Your competitors could be a tenderloin steak
- Complaints are opportunities]
The truth about customers
Following up on WIIFM, No, customers are not always right; their decisions are based on what is best for them; not what is most convenient for your company and according to what you outlined in your company policy and terms & conditions. Meaning, customers are prone to:
- Complain about anything and everything that doesn’t meet their expections.
- Stretch the truth with regard to what one of your employees ‘promised’ them verbally when they made the transaction, why they ‘don’t have’ their receipt for the product, why there are important pieces mysteriously missing from the box they purchased, etc.
- Overstate their level of authority, notoriety, and influence on social media, suggesting that unless you give them what they want (and more), you can expect a public relations nightmare by way of negative comments and tweets about your company, or you can expect to hear from their lawyer.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Recall in Louis CK’s 10 Rules that companies, to stay competitive, offer the best possible solutions available today that they possibly can. But customers don’t care about that. They care about getting value for the money they spent, and will therefore get angry and lose their self-control with you.
Recall also in my interview with entrepreneur Karen Rudel and Hervé Godard that, with regards to services where people may not like you and the only reason they’re there is because they have to be, that is the client you want to love you the most. That is the guy you want to break.
Regardless of whether the customer is right or not, bend over backwards and kill them with kindness, be fair and empathetic and offer to make any wrongs right. If your business is based on word of mouth and referrals, for every one customer that complains, a hundred others will stand up for you.
Lastly, for more on understanding consumers and people in general, watch my lecture Managing Age, Cultural & Personality Differences, Jerks & Assholes.]
Tit for Tat – You reap what you sow
Regardless of whether you or your customer is right, how you treat, respond to, and meet your customers and clients requests determine how successful you and your company will be.