The same situation could happen to two different customers – it’s the delayed delivery, the unreturned phone call, the poor workmanship, or the indifferent employee encounter.
With the customer named Dena, it’s not a big concern. She just wants to get it rectified quickly and move on; however, with the customer named Dana – it’s a federal crime, punishable by jail time, 50 lashes with a wet noodle, a good stern talking-to, and about 500 poor ratings on Yelp.
Dena offers reasonableness. Dana offers drama.
We can’t control the customer’s reaction, but oftentimes the company’s response to that reaction makes it worse. Instead of driving down the drama, the company amplifies it. The company’s response becomes an even bigger issue than the original complaint.
So how do we drive down the drama? In Service Recovery, here are several key tips:
- Remain totally engaged with the customer. Do not ever appear distracted or disinterested. Remember, drama creates attention (and dramatic people crave attention) – give them attention in a positive manner.
- Avoid taking any hyperbole or negativity to heart. Dramatic people can exaggerate. Don’t ignore the real customer concern because you’re upset about (or disagree with) the noise that surrounds it.
- Move fast to identify the issue and resolution. Speed is a huge asset in stemming the dramatic tide.
- Remember that drama is another way of describing emotion. Use tips for defusing customers that we’ve suggested in the past such as listening, asking fact-based questions, offering empathy, and apologizing (if appropriate) on behalf of the organization.
- Help them to feel important by literally saying they’re important such as “I want to help you. Resolving your issue is important to me. It’s important that we get this right for you.”
We don’t want to encourage drama – we want to mitigate it. And although in customer service we’re often looking to do something great, sometimes the best approach with drama is to find ways to avoid making it worse.
Drive Down the Drama.