Ever been hit by a situation completely out of ‘left field’ when dealing with a customer? There tends to be a lot of repetition in customer care that can lull customer service professionals into canned responses. But now and again there are also situations that are so completely ‘out there’ that we have to overcome our surprise and skillfully handle the situation.
One of the most important skills a customer care provider can have is the ability to read, evaluate and act on a situation. And we must do this as if it’s a normal occurrence quickly, confidently, and gracefully.
Years ago a customer service professional for an insurance company told a story about a question she received from a customer about how their policy would apply to a rental in Europe. After getting answers to several policy questions the customer had one follow up inquiry "If I register my car in France, and then take it to England, do I have to change the steering wheel to the other side of the car?"
That's certainly not a question that comes up often and there surely is no pre-defined script to answer it. At first the customer service person assumed the customer was joking but there was no tonality or verbal queues to indicate that was the case. Not wanting to make the customer feel foolish, she laughed internally and was able to calmly confirm that no steering wheel reconfiguration was necessary in the car. She was also able to point him to some resources on the process of transitioning driving styles when traveling between France and England.
Customer care providers use their understanding of people and psychology to size up things like sincerity, honesty, and seriousness to first assess the people involved. Next they use their broad knowledge of the company’s guidelines, policies, products, and services to see if and how they can address the issue. And finally, they read the overall situation and clearly communicate a solution to a customer. That’s a lot of reading.
If your ‘reading’ skills can use some sharpening, the first step may be to become a keen observer of human nature, a great listener, and an empathetic helper to people. This combination of attributes will let you accurately determine a customer's intent and then provide accurate and insightful help to the customer, no matter what the situation, or how strange and different it may sound.
Get a FREE sneak preview! Learn how to start generating more top-line revenue through your customer service teams.