The Moment of Truth

 

Every customer contact is a Moment of Truth that creates a Moment of Misery, a Moment of Mediocrity, or a Moment of WOW. In the Moment of Truth you can create customers for LIFE or you can initiate a slow and painful demise of your company one customer at a time.

A Moment of Mediocrity is what most often occurs in business to customer interactions and this is where the customer’s expectations were met – and those may even be low expectations. Customers who experience a Moment of Mediocrity, feel “satisfied” but will not reward the company with loyalty. These customers are only your customers because they haven’t found a better experience.

A Moment of Misery is created each time you fail to meet the customer’s expectations. Often, Moments of Misery result in damaging and highly persuasive negative word-of-mouth advertising and customer defection.

A Moment of WOW is created when you exceed the customer’s expectations. Service must be truly outstanding and service providers have to go “Beyond WOW” to create the Moment of WOW. Moments of WOW create a profitable base of loyal customers, which results in growth, increased profits, and lasting value. (For hundreds of ideas on how to create Moments of WOW, pick up my brand new book, Beyond WOW)


Two years ago I stayed in a luxury hotel in Miami with a corner ocean view room. I paid $179 for a one-night stay and my expectations for service were high. I experienced a myriad of problems during my short stay and one situation stands out. The morning of my departure I called the Concierge to arrange transportation to the airport. Here’s a summary of this Moment of Truth:

Me, the Customer: “I need to be at Miami International Airport by 5:00 pm for a 6:00pm flight. Can you arrange transportation with Super Shuttle for me? “ Simple request – or so I thought.

Concierge: “Ma’am, you have to give at least a 24 hour notice for a shuttle to the airport. I cannot call for you. You can take a taxi or we can arrange a car for you for $99. “

Me, the “paying” customer: “Why do you need a 24 hour notice for a routine ride to the airport?

Concierge: “It’s our procedure. You can take a taxi or I can arrange a car. Those are your choices.”

Me, the customer/ the reason you have a job: “Okay, can you just veer away from “procedure” and see if the shuttle can pick me up eight hours from right now?”

Concierge: “I can give you the number and you can call.”

I called Super Shuttle and the representative said, “Sure, the royal blue van will meet you out front at exactly 4:30.” See how easy that was? Why couldn’t the Concierge just pick up the phone and check?

Here’s what the Concierge should have said upon my request for a shuttle: “Ms. Golden, typically Super Shuttle requires a 24 hour advance notice, but I’ll see what I can do. If I cannot arrange transportation with the shuttle, we can get you to the airport by taxi or private car. Let me check on that and I’ll call you right back.” This response would have made the Moment of Truth a Moment of Mediocrity and perhaps I would have considered another stay at the hotel. But my moment was Misery and not only will I not return, but like every customer, I’ll spread negative word-of- mouth advertising.

A Moment of Misery is created every time you:

*Tell a customer “No” without first telling them what you can do

*Quote policy

*Fail to follow-up/follow through

*Make the customer tell and retell their story with unnecessary transfers

*Respond to complaints with an accusatory or interrogatory style

*Refuse to take responsibility for problems

*Fail to apologize to customers

*Tell a customer they are wrong – even when they are wrong

*Cut a customer off

You only get one Moment of Truth with customers. What will it be?

26 little ideas to help you be nicer to unhappy or complaining customers

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Here are 26 ideas you can print off and share with your customer service employees. Or, you could share these ideas in a quick 3-minute training.

 

The ABC’s of Customer Recovery

Act as if every lost customer’s value to the company comes out of your paycheck.

Believe the best of customers. Don’t make the mistake of assuming most customers are out to simply get something for nothing. The truth is, less than 1% of customers contact companies with ulterior motives in mind.

Communicate with diplomacy and tact when your final answer is “no” and when explaining company policy.

Don’t tell a customer she is wrong. Telling a customer they are wrong never makes them want to agree with you. It only pushes them more forcefully into their original position.

Empathize with unhappy customers and allow this empathy to season your responses.

Find a way to say “yes” to customers. Instead of saying “no” or telling the customer what you can’t do, think critically about what you actually can do.

Give a token item such a coupon as a concrete form of apology.

Have a sense of urgency. Demonstrate with your words and speed of response that getting to the bottom of the problem is just as important to you as it is to your customer.

Involve customers in the problem resolution process. Sometimes it’s very helpful to simply ask, “How do you see us resolving this?”

Jot down the customer’s name and details of the problem they are describing so you don’t have to ask the customer to repeat information.

Keep customers apprised of your timetable and progress toward resolving their problems.

Listen with the intent to truly understand your customer, not with the intent to interrupt, reply, or correct. Continue reading “26 little ideas to help you be nicer to unhappy or complaining customers”

7 Questions About Negotiating with Customers with Myra Golden

 

 

1. Is it wise to make concessions when negotiating with customers?

Every negotiator, even savvy executives, concedes from time to time and as long as the concession makes good business sense, it’s okay. BUT – and this is a BIG but – you need to be aware of what your concessions are saying to customers.   A large concession on your part tells the customer he can get a lot more, so he may press you for more. Rapid concessions undermined your company’s creditability. Only make concessions if you have considered all of the alternatives, you feel it will maintain the customer’s loyalty, and when it balances the interests of both your customer and your company.

  2. How do you respond in a negotiation with a customer when the customer’s demand is unreasonable?

I use 5 little magic words: “That sounds a little high.”  And then you pause. No matter what dollar amount the customer puts out, just state the 5 magic words and then sit back and wait for their response. Most people become increasingly uncomfortable with silence and will feel compelled to respond. Most likely, your customer will either make a more reasonable request, or they will try to justify their request.

 3.  What do you do when you find yourself in a deadlock with the customer in negotiation situation? That is, what do you do when the customer isn’t accepting your offer and you are not willing to concede?

Don’t allow the customer to push you into a corner. Here’s a phrase that will help you set and enforce your limits, while at the same time moving the conversation forward: “We see this differently, and I am going to have to put more thought into the perspective you have shared with me. It’s helpful to me to understand how you see things. In the meantime, here is what I can do to solve the immediate problem.”

4. Is it appropriate to negotiate with a difficult customer who is actually responsible for the problem they are complaining about?

I am not for compensating customers when the problem is clearly their fault. Never forget, today’s exception becomes tomorrow’s expectation. Customers have eternal memory, and they’ll expect you to give in again if they encounter the same “human” error. Here’s how I’d respond to the customer when the problem is clearly their fault:

“We appreciate hearing about your experience, but we cannot compensate you in this matter because you failed to follow instructions (or misused the product, etc.)”

Negotiate Like a Diplomat  (Immediately downloadable Webinar Recording)

10 Simple Strategies for Negotiating with crafty, cunning, and unreasonable customers Learn more!

 5.  Should frontline customer service employees be involved in negotiations with customers or should this always be the responsibility of supervisory or management employees?

As long as employees are trained, empowered, confident, and known to make good judgment, they can negotiate with customers.  Having said that, it’s often a good move for frontline customer service representatives to admit early on that they don’t have the final say in a negotiation. (Even when they do have the final word, this is a good move.) Admitting this gives the representative a graceful exit, should negotiations become deadlocked.

 6. What are some of the most common tactics customers use to paint companies into a corner in a negotiation situation?

There are many tricky tactics customers will use when negotiating.  When it comes to negotiating a settlement in a product liability complaint, a common tactic is the use of hypothetical questions. An example hypothetical question is “If my 3 year old son had bitten into the hamburger that had the piece of glass in it, don’t you agree that he could have been in serious condition?” This is clearly a setup and you cannot answer the question.  Get the customer focused on solving the actual problem that did occur and nothing more.

7. Is it appropriate to negotiate with customers via email?

Yes, it is. Ten years ago I would have answered differently, but today email is the preferred communication medium of many of your customers. You need to know that email negotiations tend to take longer than phone and face to face negotiations and email negotiations are less likely to end in agreement. If things become tricky via email, pick up the phone and call your customer.

Myra’s gift to you…9 Phrases – word-for-word for how to handle difficult negotiation situations. Download your free handout now.

Do you ever find that you’ve spent more money to resolve complaints than you know you should have? Do you sometimes “pay a customer off” just because it’s easier to “get rid of them”? Do you wish you had more confidence in your ability to negotiate with customers?

Introducing…

Negotiate Like a Diplomat  (Webinar Recording)

10 Simple Strategies for Negotiating with crafty, cunning, and unreasonable customers Learn more!

“Give Me 90 Minutes And I’ll Have You Negotiating Like a Diplomat.”  

Myra Golden

From the desk of Myra Golden:

I promise, after this 90-minute How to Negotiate with Customers webinar, you will be inspired and thrilled with how active you are at negotiating with customers.  And once you’ve gotten a taste of how easy it indeed is to get angry customers to back down and reach win-win resolutions, you will be wholly STOKED and actually look forward to negotiating with customers!

How to Negotiate with Customers is CLEAR, CONCISE, and geared to give you QUICK RESULTS that will empower you to reach agreements that balance the interests of both your customers AND your company.

Get the full story here.

Jack Nicholson’s famously hilarious chicken-salad-sandwich speech in Five Easy Pieces

I actually feature this clip in my full-day customer service workshops. It gets hilarious laughter for sure, but after the clip we discuss how the waitress could have handled this customer better.

Watch the video, paying careful attention to the waitress. Note your first impression as she approaches Jack’s table, her facial expression, attitude, etc. Next, flip the script. What might she have done differently to have the situation end MUCH differently?

Enjoy!

The lesson here, of course, is to be flexible and friendly. These two attributes will take you a long way with customers, even the most difficult of customers.

Special Webinar Teaches How to Handle Difficult Customers

How to Get Angry, Irate or Unreasonable Customers to Back Down

Imagine your next phone call is from an angry, irate customer and you’ve only got a few seconds to gain control.

Are you 100% confident you can handle it?

If not, I’ve got the perfect program for you.  Attend my special webinar entitled “Stop Screaming at Me” and you’ll be able to Handle Any Difficult Customer. Learn more about this special webinar.

Myra Golden’s 2010 Webinar Schedule Just Released

 

Myra Golden personally delivers live interactive supervisory webinars several times each year to help contact center leadership more effectively coach, motivate, train, and retain employees. She also features a special lineup of programs for frontline customer service staff on such topics as dealing with difficult customers, email customer service, and how to negotiate with customers.

Check out the 2010 calendar of webinars right here: http://www.CallCenterWebinars.com

Pizza Hut’s Killer iPhone App…I LOVE it!

Last night my family decided on pizza delivery for dinner.  We have a “regular” pizza joint we order from, but when I tried to pull up their site on my smartphone, I got nothing. (It was all flash and my iPhone does’t like flash.) My 6-year old said, “Mommy, you can order from Pizza Hut on your iPhone…I saw the commercial. Want me to get your phone?” I said “Yes!” It took me all of 4 seconds to discover that Pizza Hut has a killer app designed for iPhone that is most definitely mobile friendly…and all iPhone orders get a 20% discount.

We always get the kids a half and half thin crust (half cheese, half pepperoni). Ordering the half and half was so cool! I literally tilted my iPhone in the direction that I wanted one topping and tilted the opposite direction for the second topping. Fun!

This app is incredibly simple and includes all of the bells and whistles of the regular site. I loved it so much that I tweeted about it and got quite a discussion going last night.

When designing or redesigning websites, companies need to consider whether or not their sites are mobile-friendly and always brainstorm ways to make serving customers faster and more convenient. Killer apps, like Pizza Hut’s, are leading edge – and that’s exactly where YOUR company needs to be. Don’t underestimate the reach and popularity of apps and smartphones when it comes to serving customers.

Here’s a video demo of Pizza Hut’s cool app: