How to Deal With Customers
By Stephen Bucaro
Customers are the life blood of any business. Without a sufficient number of customers
a business can't make a profit. If a business can't make a profit, they have no need for you
as an employee. The short version of this is; no customers - no job.
In a customers eyes, you are the company. In actuality, you are a representative of the
company and anything you say and any commitments you make are legally binding to the company.
If a customer is having a problem with your company's product or service, even though it's
not your fault, you should offer an apology on behalf of the company and offer to do what you
can to solve the problem.
Example: "I'm sorry the logo fell off the tail gate of your brand new ford truck. Let
me see if I can get someone to snap a new one in for you right away."
The most important thing when dealing with customers is to have good listening skills.
An important part of listening is to reflect back what a customer tells you, and if the customer
is expressing any feelings about their problem, it's important to recognize those feelings.
Customer: "I bought a new ford truck last year, and this is the third time the logo has
fallen off the tail gate."
Employee: "This is the third time the logo has fallen off the tail gate of your truck
that you bought just last year. That must be annoying. I'll put a note on your ticket that
this is the third time this has happened".
One problem when dealing with customers is that you never know how much knowledge they
have. Some customers may have more knowledge about your product or service than you have. Another
customer you may not understand a thing you say. If a customer doesn't understand what you're
telling them, just keep repeating it in simpler and simpler terms.
Customer: "Why does it cost $500 to replace a simple seal?"
Employee: "It cost so much because they have to pull the transmission to get to the seal."
Customer: "I still don't understand why it costs so much to replace a simple seal."
Employee: "Yes, the seal is simple, but to get to it you have to pull the transmission,
and, to pull the transmission we have to remove the drive shaft."
Customer: "There's nothing wrong with the drive shaft".
Employee: "True, there's nothing wrong with the drive shaft, but there isn't enough room
to get the transmission out without removing the drive shaft, and you can't get to the transmission
main seal without backing up the transmission because the seal is on a pump inside the transmission
This dialog could continue on until the customer finally understands all the work that
must to be done to replace a transmission main seal, justifying the high cost.
Then there's the customer who has their own ideas about things. Sometimes you just have
to pacify them, while explaining that the company only does things the company approved way.
Customer: "I'm not going to pay $500 to replace a simple seal when all you have to do
is dump a can of sealer in there."
Employee: "I understand what you're saying, but company studies have shown that sealer
plugs up valves in the transmission while not reliably stopping leaks, so we don't use sealer,
we only do seal replacements."