In every organization there are critical customer interactions known as “moments of truth.” A moment of truth is defined as: “a time when a person or thing is tested, a decision has to be made, or a crisis has to be faced.” “Moments of truth” can result in a really great, memorable experience, or one that doesn’t meet the customer’s expectation and leaves them angry and frustrated.
One of the “moments of truth” that can provide the greatest opportunity to strengthen the relationship with a customer is problem resolution. Seems odd, doesn’t it? However, consistent, exceptional responses to problems cannot only resolve the problem, but turn into such a great experience that your customer remembers it for years to come.
The degree to which a customer was satisfied with the resolution of their problem is a huge factor in their overall engagement. Customers who are “extremely satisfied” with the way their problem was handled are twice as likely to be fully engaged with an organization. In fact, many times, effective problem resolution can create a customer who becomes more loyal than a customer who has never had a problem with your organization!
How can you effectively work your way through a problem with a customer that results in a stronger, more loyal relationship?
- Recognize that the customer is anxious and feeling stressed before they even let you know about the problem. Talk to your employees about how emotion further impacts a problem.
- Be in the moment and listen with empathy. Place yourself in the shoes of the customer and make an effort to understand their problem.
- Apologize and mean it. If you are truly listening, your authenticity and sincerity will be clearly evident.
- Make every effort to solve the problem the first time. Remember, the customer is already upset and transferring them or asking them to talk to someone else will frustrate them even more.
- Keep your cool. Your emotions can also be affected by an angry customer. Try to focus on the problem and not the person.
- Devise a follow-up plan. Follow up with the customer to further show you care.
There is no way to completely avoid customer complaints. But, when you take ownership of the problem, and find a quick, satisfying resolution, you can transform an otherwise disappointing customer experience into an amazing and delightful “moment of truth” for your customer.
Debbie Szumylo Manager, Customer Experience at Thomson Reuters Elite, has 15+ years of proven successes in experience design, strategy development and analysis.
Listed as #58 on Onalytica's top 100 Big Data and Customer Experience Influencers, February 2014.
Quoted in OneReach's "What's the Best Way to Improve Customer Service? 63 Influencers Weigh In", October, 2015
Member of Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA)