Have you ever arrived at a job to make a repair, only to have the customer rant and rave for 15 minutes about the last technician or company that was there, and how they screwed the system all up? Who hasn’t, right?
So what do you do? LISTEN. That’s all they want, someone to listen to them. Let them vent, and get it off of their chest. When they pause for breath, they’re usually done. Don’t disagree or argue with them, or you will give them another shot of adrenaline, and off they go again. You will always lose in an argument with your customer, no matter who is right.
If they are bad-mouthing another company, don’t agree with them either. You are not there to pass judgment on anyone else. If you talk down about another company, the customer will think badly of you, too.
I know, you’re just there to get the job done, and move on to the next one. But half of your job, as a service tech, is PR work. You are the person that the customer deals with on a face-to-face basis. When he/she talks to anyone in your company on the phone, it’s your face they see in their mind.
You are not there to blame others. You are not there to accept blame for the problem, either. However, it is okay to apologize for the problem. “Wow, sir, I’m really sorry this happened to you.” You’re not admitting that it’s your fault, but you are showing that you care that this happened to him. Your next line to say is, “Let me see what I can do to take care of this for you”. Now, he feels that you are on his side, and will probably leave you alone to do what you have to do.
Don’t be afraid to admit when you’re in over your head, either. Your customer will understand and appreciate your service more if you say to him, “This is a little beyond me, but I’m calling (another tech/my supervisor/tech support), and we’ll do what we can to get this fixed”. If you don’t know the answer, at least know where to turn for it. That’s what will make you a good tech. And, don’t ever say, “That’s not my job”. You’ve just slammed a door in the customer’s face. Prepare for tongue-lashing number 2. A better answer would be: “That is usually handled by our (Billing/Service/Sales) department. Would you like me to (get them on the phone/give you the number/let them know)?”
Always be honest with your customer. It’s a lot easier to remember the truth, than it is to remember which lie you told to which customer the last time you were here.
I’ve always treated my customers as I would treat a friend. This doesn’t always work, though. Sometimes, it’s obvious that the customer doesn’t want another friend; they want a professional to take care of the repairs. You’ll just have to play it by ear.
Remember, if you don’t present yourself to the customer as a professional, they will:
- Wonder if you will be able to serve their needs.
- Tend to ignore any advice you offer.
- Pretty much give you a hard time, all the way around.
- Include your company’s name in their next tirade.
Don’t be part of the problem. Be part of the solution. The customer will remember that the next time he needs service. P.S. Probably the best thing I’ve ever heard upon arriving at a job is, “Oh, thank God you’re here. I know it’ll get fixed this time.” (Ouch. I think I just broke my arm!)