Are You Communicating Well with Your Customers
Deadlines are missed, budgets are miscalculated, food can be over or undercooked, etc. Let’s face it, shit happens! We can do everything within our power to keep things running smoothly, but somethings are beyond our control. It’s often understandable if explained. A little communication can go a long way in retaining a customer and avoiding a negative Yelp review. The following are seven pointers to help you communicate better with your customers or clients.
1. Show Empathy: You’d be surprised how far a little empathy can go. “I’m so sorry about that. If I were in your shoes, I’d be upset too.” This sort of phrase will often shift a person’s view of you from enemy who hurt them to a friend who’s trying to help them.
2. Don’t pretend the problem doesn’t exist: If your customer reveals a problem to you, don’t pretend it doesn’t exist. Recognize it. Pretending their problem isn’t a problem will only cause them to escalate. A squeaky wheel wants grease.
3. Don’t lose your cool: Beware of the ego. While the ego isn’t bad within itself, it doesn’t like to be challenged. The initial response that enters the mind will be one of defense and offense. Take a breath and think. What you say and/or do in this moment can and probably will be used against you.
4. Own it: Say it with me, “If I’m in charge, it’s my fault.” While you may explain what happened, no one wants to hear you play the blame game. A disappointed customer only wants restitution and assurance it won’t happen again.
5. Offer a solution: “I’m going to have my guys come out to fix this immediately. I’ll work over the weekend to get the matter resolved. I’ll remake this for you or would you prefer something else?” Such solutions will help to calm the nerves of your customer.
6. Offer a token of apology: “Your next meal is on me. No charge for this one. Here’s a gift certificate to xyz. Here’s my direct number should you ever have an incident again.” Such phrases provide assurance for future performance.
7. Don’t assume: Last but certainly not least, don’t assume that your customer knows what’s going on with you. Pick up the phone, send a text or email. When they know what’s happening, it keeps them from relying on their assumptions, which usually aren’t good. Let them know your child became sick or an emergency arose. People tend to paint the worst picture, especially when you have their money.
The right words and solutions at the right time can be the difference in repeat customers and referrals or a bad news virus that will spread like dust in the wind. Take care of your customers and they’ll take care of you. Communication is key!