When conducting a Service Excellence Training session for an education client, I asked the staff from Student Services to describe situations where they encounter irate students. One of the employees noted how – when you correct the student or try to educate him on his part in the process – the conversation can either go really well or really badly. A student can either listen, understand, and move forward, or they can throw a royal fit. What’s the difference? The difference is WHERE the conversation takes place.
If the employee is noting what went wrong or telling the student that they needed to have taken some actions before showing up and they’re surrounded by students, the conversation can go negative very quickly.
However, the same conversation can take place with the same information presented by the employee in the same way, but where it takes place can elicit a totally different reaction.
The difference? Embarrassment.
The student can easily react defensively or angrily if information that puts them in a negative light is conveyed in a public environment. While this may seem intuitive, too often employees are engaging the student, the client, the patient, the family in a conversation in a public location that serves to do nothing but heighten the emotions of the customer.
In customer service, the privacy of the customer is actually your friend. Find ways to convey in a more private setting not only the bad news but also information about anything that the other person should have done or should have known.
Ensure that what you say doesn’t create an irate customer situation simply because of where you say it.
Use privacy to keep the peace.