Oct 7, 2021 • Podcast

How do I turn challenging service issues into a customer win?

Paul discusses turning a negative service issue into a positive for you and the customer.

Show Notes 

Service failures are opportunities!

Find out how this service failure happened and explain without using excuses.

Give the customer an outlet to vent their frustrations.

Get the customer’s feedback and create a plan to fix the issue so it doesn’t happen again.

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How do I turn challenging service issues into a customer win?

(Transcribed from podcast)

Today, we have another question coming from our website. So just a reminder, make sure you go to TheQandASalesPodcast.com. There you can ask me a question. I will turn this into a future show.

So, here’s the scenario with this question. Last year, there was a derecho, which is like a weather system. I’m not a weatherman, so I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s a significant weather system, let’s say that. It tore through this certain area, and the salesperson reaching out to us today is in the insurance industry. And basically, they’re talking about how, during this time—you know, we’ve got COVID going on, people working remotely. Resources were hard to come by. Basically, the overall claims experience wasn’t the greatest throughout this significant weather event. And so, the salesperson wants to know how to turn this challenging service issue into a win with our customers. So how can we take this negative and turn it into a win? That is what we’re going to answer on today’s show.

Before we get into that, though, a quick shout-out to Andrea over at The Creative Impostor Studios. You know, the podcast continues to grow, and it’s been downloaded now in over 75 countries. It continues to grow in popularity and salespeople love this resource. And a big reason—a big reason—that it’s become so successful is because Andrea and her team at The Creative Impostor Studios continues to support the podcast, helping, providing guidance, just sharing insights to help make the podcast better. So, if you’re thinking of starting a podcast, reach out to Andrea and her team.

Also, as this episode is launching, Selling Through Tough Times is now available. Please go to Amazon, check it out. You know, when you go through tough times and you go through tough service experiences, this book is filled with tips on how to partner better with our customers. In fact, we have a whole chapter on how to partner with our customers. It’s actually—. It’s one of my favorite chapters. So check that out. It’s available on Amazon or wherever you get your books.

Let’s get back to that question. How do we turn a challenging service situation into a win for our customers? So let’s think about this scenario again. It’s very understandable why clients would be frustrated. If they had a bad claims experience, even if it wasn’t the fault of the person that filled out this form, they still didn’t have a great experience and we’re going to have to deal with that—the repercussions of that. So, I’m going to offer a couple of tips and ideas.

First things first, we need to remember that service failures are opportunities. Service failures are opportunities. And, in fact, there’s been research that has shown this. And I’ve mentioned this book in the past, the book is Strategic Customer Service and his research—John Goodman’s research—shows that when customers have a bad experience and they complain, and then you satisfy their complaint—you fix the issue—they end up becoming more loyal to you than they were before the complaint. So again, remember, service failures are opportunities.

So here’s my first tip. Number one: conduct a failure analysis. I would take the team, get them together and ask yourself, “Okay, the claims process during this significant weather event, it did not go all that well. Why did it not go well?” And the goal is to ask why five times. Asking why five times will get to the root cause of what went wrong. And it’s going to provide some guidance on how you can fix it in the future. So, conduct a service failure analysis. Get your team together and just figure out what went wrong. You can’t fix something until you’re fully aware of how it went wrong, when it went wrong. You need to have that analysis.

Second thing I’d recommend—explain to your customers without making excuses. When clients or customers, whatever you want to call them, when they have a bad experience, the last thing they want to hear is a bunch of excuses as to why it happened. We need to take ownership of the situation, but it’s important that we explain. And so here’s what I would do. I would go back to those clients that had a bad experience and I would lead with, “I’m sorry that the claims process did not go as smoothly as we would have hoped. We’re going to do our best next time to make sure that never happens again. But I wanted to take a moment and explain the situation.”

So, from the very beginning, you’re owning it, but then you’re explaining—it was like a perfect storm of events and, (no pun intended, right, with the derecho), it’s like a perfect storm of events. There’s COVID, there’s labor shortages, material costs are going up. There’s all of these factors that are influencing it. So, keep that in mind. Be able to explain it, but without using it as an excuse.

Tip number three: give the client an opportunity to vent. This is important. Let your client air it out, air their frustration. And the reason why is simple, when people are able to air out their frustrations, they feel so much better. It’s like a weight is lifted off of their shoulders. It’s no longer stewing inside of them or festering inside of them. Instead, you give them an outlet to share what their feelings are. This is important because it gives them a chance to vacate all those negative thoughts and emotions from their mind. Get it out there. That’s important. So give them a chance to vent.

Tip number four: ask the customer or the client, what they would change or how they would recommend you would improve. It’s important to get their feedback. As you explain the situation and you explain what went wrong and all that, get their feedback on how they would like it addressed. When people are able to give their feedback, they feel a sense of ownership in solving that problem. That’s a good thing. We want our clients to feel like their feedback has helped solve a problem. They’re going to feel a stronger sense of loyalty as a result of having that conversation.

And the final tip—this one is pretty straightforward and simple—we need to create a plan. We need to create a plan to fix the problem—the core problem—what went wrong. We need to do this to give our customers reassurance, reassurance that, “Hey, this is not going to happen again.” And this sends the right message. Go back to each and every one of your customers that were impacted by this problem and explain to them in detail, “Hey, here’s how we’re going to fix it. It’s never going to happen again because we are going to fix this core problem.”

This demonstrates to your customers that you care about them, that you want to earn their business. And as I mentioned in the opening, when customers have a complaint and then they’re satisfied by the resolution of the complaint, they become more loyal to you. So, this is an opportunity to create greater loyalty.

And then, a bonus tip we’ll call it: let the customer know that you’re eager to keep their business. Customers like to know that you want to keep their business, so let them know, “Hey, we want to make sure we keep you as one of our valued customers. And that’s why we’re fixing this problem.”

So those are a few of the tips for you. Hey, when there’s a challenging service issue, it is an opportunity. So take these tips and I hope you able to keep those customers happy.

Make it a big day.

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