When You’ve Already Dropped the Ball

They call because something has gone wrong. One of the more subtle service skills employed by world-class service providers is recognizing when customers are expressing their dissatisfaction. Customers often call because something has already gone wrong in a previous interaction with the company. Perhaps the customer called before and has not received the promised call back or follow-up. Perhaps they tried to self-serve on the web or through the IVR and didn't receive resolution for their issue. It's important for Customer Service Representatives to listen for the customer's words and phrases which indicate the company has already dropped the ball:

  • "I haven't received…"
  • "I called yesterday. Someone was supposed to call me back…"
  • "I'm still waiting on…"
  • "I tried to find it on-line, but…"
  • "I was in your automated system, and…"

The customer is trying to tell you something. You didn't meet my expectations. Something went wrong. I've already been inconvenienced. You already dropped the ball.

As soon as you hear it, employ an empathy/resolution statement. Quickly and sincerely apologize for exactly what went wrong, then focus on what you can and will do for the customer.

  • "I'm sorry you didn't receive it. I will be happy to check on that."
  • "I apologize we didn't get back to you. Let me look that up and we'll get this resolved for you."
  • "I'm sorry for the delay. I can check the status of that for you."
  • "Sorry for the confusion. I'll help you find what you're looking for."
  • "I apologize for the trouble you had. Let's get that information for you."

This simple technique quickly acknowledges you'ver heard the customer's dissatisfaction, communicates you empathize with their inconvenience, but quickly focuses on the number one priority of resolving the issue.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and realestateclientreferrals

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