Handling Difficult Situations


Managing the Customer Service Experience


Lesson Info

Handling Difficult Situations

Has anyone here had any challenges handling difficult situations in their workplace? Anybody have a story to share? Maybe? Umm. Difficult. Yeah, when recently a customer pushed back at pricing, on pricing. Okay. So, it was basically put forward to us can you match this price versus delivering our value. Alright. So it was a difficult situation coming back and coming back with value when the customer was solely focused on price. Right. Yeah, that's a common one. That's a very good example. Yeah. So you know what your quality is worth and yet somebody is only looking at the black and white of it. Right. Right? And then they're gonna throw in that I can go somewhere else for it. Well, they were, they were getting a lower offer. Right. We were asked to match it when we were selling on our value. Right, right. So that's a tough one. So that could be a tough customer and a tough situation, right? Yeah, good. Has anyone had a, experienced a difficult situation and had ...

it handled nicely, like it's starting to go downhill and then somebody scoops it up and turns it around for you? Well, here's the thing, I mean, the world is gonna throw you like total curve balls, right? You're gonna have things that happen that you never pictured happening. Is that true? Have you experienced things like I never pictured somebody would get upset about that or I never pictured that could happen? Stuff happens. How you respond, though, is how you represent to your clients and your team. Because stuff happens. Now, there's stuff that's gonna happen live, right, so with customers, with people. You know, you go to hand them the product and you drop it and it falls to the floor and it's ruined, right? So that happens in restaurants all the time. The tray of food goes flying, right? And some people applaud and some people are like, oh no, and some people were like, that was mine, right? So how do you deal in that moment? We've got to be especially careful when it's live because it's an expression of how we handle things, right? So do we get mad and scream at that person like no, you shouldn't have done that, that's terrible! Do we cry and say, it's such a bad night, oh my God! Right? Do we laugh and say, oh my God, that's insane, I can't believe you did that. Right? So we've got to think about that because it'll resonate with our team and also with our clients and how are we taking this situation carefully? We always have to think about the fact that this is happening in public. There will be curve balls that happen that are not in public. That's a wonderful thing, right? You now have time to sort of figure out how do I deal with this? How am I going to approach this? How am I gonna call that client back? How am I going to call that vendor? How am I going to deal when my client shows up in 30 minutes and I'm not quite ready for them? So that allows us a little time and space. So use that time and space to think about your next best choice because the time and space is a wonderful thing. I see a lot of people trying to react quickly. Quick response is good but a quick inaccurate response is not good, okay? We want to make sure that we're going for accuracy so remember you can give yourself a little bit of time before you can respond. It's a good thing. The beauty and the detriment of email is it's so quick. Has anybody here ever sent out an email and been like, oh, I want to take that back! I need to take that back, that was not what I intended. Right? So sometimes we have to make sure that we are taking time to look at what we have, is that what I need to say, it is gonna represent me, is that gonna represent my brand the best it can be? So time is on your side when handling problems, okay? Even if there's not a lot, take the time that you have to correct and get yourself ready. Now this is something that's abundantly true. I was talking in the previous course about memories. Now, memories and customer service is about positive intentional acts, right? When problems happen they are unintentional acts, right? Things went wrong, I did not intend to get that to you late, I didn't intend for this to arrive broken, I didn't intend to say that word when I really didn't mean to say that word, right? I didn't realize it would be upsetting to ask about your mother. Oh, she died, oh my God! Right? So things happen, right? But on the flip side, how we handle it is the opportunity for things to actually go better. So using the restaurant example, again. So they sent me the wrong food, right? That on its own is an unintended act and that on its own creates a memory. They screwed it up. They sent me the wrong food. If we left it the way it was, that's the memory that's gonna go home with them. But now we have an opportunity to do an intentional act. So the intentional act will be, gosh, we are so sorry that that came out wrong and we'd like to make sure that we get you something right. So now we're gonna have a conversation, right? So it could be, did you want to wait while we make another? Would you like me to send you something quick so you have something to eat and then we'll get the other thing to you as soon as it's ready? Or do you want to start over? Is there something else you'd prefer, right? So we're gonna have a conversation so that we can ensure satisfaction is happening. And in that moment, that intended recovery is now what people are going to remember. So I did say the food was wrong, I ordered another steak, I knew it was gonna take 15 minutes, but in that 15 minutes they actually sent me this little appetizer, this tiny little thing and it was really good so I didn't have an empty plate. And then when they sent me the steak, it was perfect, it was really good and then they sent me another glass of wine. So now that's the memory that's been created. So that's a wonderful thing. So think about the problems as being an opportunity to shine because, again, your business has so many ways to make people happy. You can do all sorts of things for them so think about what it can be to do an intended act to bring them back, bring them back to you. So now I have got a five-point on really how to handle difficult situations. And the first one is diagnosing the situation, what is really happening? Now, the thing is that people come to your business with all sorts of external things happening. Sometimes their problem, they're going to make your problem and you don't know that. So we need to diagnose it. Is it really about me? Is it they showed up upset? Is there something else that's going on or is it really I'm in the wrong here and I need to make a correction for this person, I need to make a correction in this moment, right? So diagnose and try to figure out what's really happening and if you can, try to reach out to anybody else who might be there to get more information. You want to get your intelligence there. Ask questions. So this is back to open-ended questions. Make sure you understand the full scope of the issue. So do some active listening. Reframe what they're saying and then say back this is what I'm hearing you say, alright? And then ask questions open-ended. How, what, could you tell me, things like that. Then the next part is be open and creative, alright? So when asking questions, you're gonna try to hone down what would truly make them satisfied. Or what would satisfy the situation, okay? So be creative with your response. Now, this is where you might want to go, if you can, go slightly outside of the rules. So maybe you don't usually have a turn-around time of a day but maybe in this case you could try to get a turn-around time in a day, right? Maybe you will try to make miracles happen because something went wrong, right? You weren't able to deliver and now it's late or now it didn't work. So try to be creative with your solution and ensure that that solution is gonna work. So that leads us to communicate. Make sure you're communicating with your team and be communicative and specific in how they can help you out. So if you've just made a promise now, okay, I'm gonna get this to you in a day, as opposed to two days, what does your team need to do to make that happen. What room do they need to make on their schedules to help you in that goal? And then communicate also to the people around you whose problem you're trying to solve. Can we solve it this way? This is how we're gonna do it. And then the last one, follow up. We talked about this in our first class designing the customer service experience and creating a culture of customer service. But follow up is a key component of the customer service experience. So how you follow up to ensure the issue has been resolved is really key. It's one thing to say you're gonna do it but another thing to do it and complete it. And again, tie it in a bow. So we want to think about all these things. Does anybody here have any personal experience with any of these things in terms of like, yes, I always make sure I do that, or I never thought of doing that? I have, one thing I always do. Yeah. Whenever I faced a problem is like what can I do to make this better? Okay. Like, past that. Yes. Because I always just throw it back into their court. Right. And it kind of is a starting place for like, oh, like I might not be able to do that, like you said. Right. But I feel like that's a good like, what is your, how would you like to solve this? Right. And that's always been really, like always calms the situation down in my experience. Yes. Well, it's empowering, right? They have a say so that's really helpful. I find, too, that people are surprising. Sometimes you think you have to jump through hoops to make people happy and sometimes they don't require that and sometimes they don't even want that. So very often when things go wrong, people want to share, they want to vent, right, because they want to tell you what's going on. Sometimes that's enough. Sometimes they want validation. So by saying, this is what's going on and this is what's upsetting or this didn't work, right, you're able to listen and validate that you're right, that didn't work and that's absolutely not right. And then they've gotten validated and they feel better. Some people also don't want to be seen as a complainer. I've seen that a lot of times. I don't want to complain, I don't want to be big complainer, and then when we do the big correction it puts too much of a spotlight on them when truly all they wanted to do is to vent and to get validated. So I think it's important that we ask them and listen to them and it's that back and forth that's the communication in that moment that's really gonna make us understand how this is gonna work. On the flip side, this might be about clients, but it also might be about vendors. This might be about situations with your team, right? So this would be the same application. So this is about situations. So what are situations that happen with your team? Well, diagnose what happened. Is what she said true or is what he said true? Ask questions and find out. Ask questions of people who might be around. Be open or creative with your response and then communicate. This is how we're gonna move forward in this. Turns out I left out key information and there's no way you could know so you acted without having the full understanding. And then follow up. I want to make sure that we all feel good about what has just happened. I want to make sure everyone understands. What are your questions, what are your queries? Okay? This would be the same thing with vendors as well because vendors sometimes cause us challenges, cause us problems, right? So this would be the same thing for any person or vendor or employee, right, when you're trying to make things better for them. At the end of the day you're in charge so you get to decide how is this gonna play out, right? Are you gonna feel good, are you gonna feel bad? And is your team gonna feel good, are they gonna feel bad? And is your client gonna feel good or gonna feel bad? Remember, as a leader you're the one who decides all this stuff, you're the one who's gonna move it forward. I've definitely had leaders who are very, very emotional, managers who are so emotional about everything that happens and that doesn't always create the best environment for making things better. So when things go wrong, their response is you always do this, you mess it up for me, you're making me look bad, right? Eww, that's the frowny side of that little guy as opposed to oh, my God, let's see what we can do about this or this has never happened. What do you think, right? A manager who asks you what you think. Wow, I'm empowered to act and make things better. But truly as the leader, as the operator, as the owner, this is your opportunity, right? You can change the situation and you can make it work better. So this is your opportunity so you get to decide. And that's where the fun comes in.

Class Description

Why is good customer service such a challenge for so many businesses? Because customers (i.e., humans) can be unpredictable, demanding and sometimes argumentative. Even if you have an exhaustive plan in place, your customers are guaranteed to throw you a curve ball. That means you’ll have to be ready to hit it out of the park.

When faced with an unhappy—even angry—customer, business people can get flustered. Even the best of us sometimes lose our cool and respond with frustration or rudeness. This course aims to prepare you for the most difficult situations, so you can uphold your commitment to customer satisfaction and turn even the most troublesome customer into a fan.

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Avoid the common pitfalls of customer service.
  • Address the most common situations you’re likely to confront.
  • Present your brand and your business as courteous, classy and caring at all times.
  • Turn an unhappy customer into a happy camper.
  • Find solutions to problems that work for your customers and your business.
  • Keep your calm even in the most heated circumstances.
  • Know the difference between satisfaction and perfection.
  • Come up with thoughtful language to use for different types of customers and circumstances.
  • Gain confidence in addressing uncomfortable situations.