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Mastering Challenging Service Situations

During the course of everyday business, many of you encounter unsatisfied customers. How you and your staff handle these situations, will shape your service image and ultimately your bottom line. How can you best handle challenging situations? I have developed and practiced a simple method for just such encounters. If you follow the steps listed below, you will greatly improve the likelihood of achieving positive resolutions to challenging situations.

Make a Connection

Shake hands and introduce yourself. An introduction will add a personal aspect to the situation that can alleviate some hostility or anger that might surround the interaction.

Acknowledge concern and show understanding.

Get engaged in solving the problem.

Respond only in a positive manner to negative feedback.

Ask for information

Clarify the issue.

Ask probing questions,gather information and clarify the issue.

Show understanding of the problem.

What can I do for you?

Discover what the customer needs to be satisfied.

Suggest

Offer a solution not an excuse.

Shift from the problem to the process for resolution.

Offer a choice between several options.

Involve the customer in determining the solution.

Explain any limitations if there are any.

Check for Agreement

Offer the preferred option and ensure customer understanding and support of the agreement.

Explain the next course of action.

Take Action and Deliver

Produce the agreed upon solution.

Look for ways to provide a meaningful extra touch and turn a poor memory into a positive one.

Evaluate

How could this situation have been avoided?

How could it have been handled better?

What skills can be trained as a result of this interaction?

Reconnect

Follow up with the customer.

Ensure that the customer is satisfied with the resolution.

Solicit feedback for improving service.

Offer a sincere "thank you" to your now satisfied customer.

Superior customer service is one of the most difficult deliverables facing the business world today. Why? Because employees do not take service personally and your customers do! Shift your perspective about service and make it personal. Ask yourself and your staff, "How many customers can we afford to lose today?" I am confident that if you train and instill my simple steps to "mastering" challenging customer situations, you and your business will see tremendous results. Remember, service is more than just a word, it is a necessity!

? Anthony Mullins
Elite Coaching Alliance 2005

Anthony Mullins is the President and Coach for The Elite Coaching Alliance. He specializes in leadership development, strategic planning, 1-on-1 coaching, facilitation and inspirational speaking. He is the author of the upcoming book "Leadership Links." Anthony can be reached by e-mail: anthony@elitecoachingalliance.com

Visit his website http://www.elitecoachingalliance.com

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