Thoughtful Thursdays – When it goes off the rails…
…and it eventually does, will you be able to keep your customer?
I won’t go into what might have caused the derailment, because at this point it will not matter to your customer. Todays thought is about managing the situation and the outcomes.
First and foremost, do not avoid the situation, meet it head on without delay and be prepared to take your lumps. If you rate yourself as a good listener, employ all your skills and listen to what your customer has to say. Do not interrupt them, wait until they have finished before speaking. Avoid responding with excuses, it is not the time. Understand the pain that has been caused and be empathetic. You want to lower the emotional content of the conversation.
The immediate objective is to determine your customer’s minimum need to get through the situation and work to the solution that will fulfill that need. Set a clear plan of action with resources identified for each step and make sure it all happens. Be prepared to micro-manage the plan, it will be worth it.
Keep your customer in the loop every step of the way through scheduled updates. Predetermine how the communications will take place and appoint a point person to be the primary contact.
A sense of urgency and immediate response will go a long way to keeping your customer. Think about the lifetime value of your customer and the consequences of losing them because of a failure to respond.
These are situations when your customer needs your help the most and they will than you for your efforts long after.
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