Friday, October 16, 2009

How to Handle Your Customers?

“60% of customers leave because of poor service, only 13% leave due to product dissatisfaction” – Michelson Associates.

Handling the complaints of the customers is a tough task. It is always easier said than done. It is always advisable to retain the existing customers rather than searching for new customers as the costs involved in creating new customers are higher. There is also a mistaken belief that customers leave because of availability of better products and features elsewhere. However the majority of the customers leave if there is improper treatment and inadequate service. Let us take a quick look at the ways and means to handle customers.

When you find customers coming out with complaints, you need to listen to them keenly first. Find out the real reasons and issues that pressed your customers. Find out what really they want instead of assuming their requirements. Unfortunately, during conversation people assume about what other person is going to say. Human beings love to talk more and listen less. But when it comes to handling customers it is necessary to listen to them closely and paraphrase the essence and then proceed with your responses.

It requires empathy where in you need to get into the shoes of your customers and find out their needs. It is essential to observe their body language as body language plays a crucial role in any communication. At the same time it is necessary for you to demonstrate positive body language to reach out to your customers. Simple signs such as nodding your head in acceptance of whatever they say would be of immense help.

Never have any pre-conceived notions such as customers always come out with complaints and they don’t appreciate your good work. Such an attitude will not help but harm your prospects of winning them.

In case of any conflict with customers, find out the issues involved rather than the individuals involved and also find out the behavioral aspects rather than personal aspects. People, in general, tend to convert the issues into individual’s behaviour thus aggravating the situation further. Every effort should be made to look at the issue purely from the perspective of the issue alone for resolving complaints and conflicts. Efforts must be made to minimize the conflicts through timely intervention and appreciating others’ perspective earnestly.

Continuous feedback is essential for improvement. Take feedback from your customers about improving services. Many ideas and solutions come from common people only not from the top. Make bottom-up approach rather than top-down approach in finding out the needs of the people as it helps in catering better services and products adding value to your customers.

If a customer is annoyed with your services, first step is to admit the mistake by saying ‘sorry’ as it immediately diffuses the situation and asking further ‘How can I help you?’. Demonstrate your willingness to serve with smile and resolve the problem. In brief, you need to possess three Ps - passion, patience and perseverance to handle and retain your customers.

Services sectors are growing rapidly and they are going to lead in future. Therefore, it is essential to emphasize on the needs of the customers. Companies should create customer-centric culture for retaining and expanding their customer base. Peter F.Drucker rightly said, “The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.” Let us create more customers so that we can create more businesses for all-round prosperity.

The End

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