From the Academic world to the workplace – DEALING WITH CUSTOMERS – Part 1

These tips will make your emergence into the world of work more comfortable and make you more confident in tackling issues that will inevitably arise.  For example, dealing with customer complaints or attending meetings with senior colleagues and important clients, will initially, take you out of your comfort zone.

“Do what you say you’re going to do, when you say you’re going to do it.”

  1. Realise your income comes from customers and nowhere else.  You will deal with customers in the appropriate way when you understand this at the start of your career.
  2. Ask if the business has a customer charter or guidelines for customer service levels.  This will give you a clear indication of what is expected of you.
  3. Accept that every time a customer comes into contact with you they judge the business you work for.  You are the ambassador for the brand each time you communicate with the outside world.
  4. Familiarise yourself with the five members of the “Customer Family”.  They are: – “Harry Hostile”, “Debbie Discontent”, “Alexander Ambivalent”, “Shirley Supportive” and “Erica Enthusiastic”.
  5. Understand that to turn all your customers into “Erica Enthusiastics” you have to build a rapport with them and keep exceeding their expectations.  Customers become “Harry Hostiles” when you are unhelpful or fail to meet their expectations.
  6. Become genuinely interested in your customers and talk in terms of their interests.  Make all your customers feel important and do this sincerely.
  7. Be proactive.  Look for ways your customers can add value to their businesses.  This will be mutually beneficial and helps you build a long term relationship with your customer.
  8. Give customers solutions to their problems which have the greatest effect, the quickest impact, the fastest payback, the least disruption and most importantly the least effort their part.
  9. Recognise that when handled correctly, complaints can be a great asset in business.  Treating complaints efficiently and empathetically turns a customer who is a “Harry Hostile” into an “Erica Enthusiastic” dramatically.
  10. Listen to complaints with empathy whether they come from colleagues or customers.  Take notes if necessary and make sure you have all the facts.  Never argue – it’s an argument you will never win.
  11. Add something extra when a customer has a justified complaint.  Putting matters right i.e. simply back to how they were is not good enough.  An extra “something” will show a customer you are genuinely sorry.

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