You may honestly feel it, or you may just be following protocol. Your voice may sound sympathetic or completely indifferent. You could do everything wrong in your apology or everything right, and it still might not matter. When customers are upset, they don’t want your apology. They want your solution.
Sometimes, solutions are easy. Correcting a misspelled name. Updating an address. Adjusting an incorrect charge.
But sometimes solutions are complicated. Messy. Even unattainable. But how you handle these solutions could be just as important as the solutions themselves.
What’s the best way to solve a customer’s problem?
First, stay calm. This isn’t always easy. It can be hard to keep your cool when your polite attempts at conversation are met with hostile responses. But staying calm is a vital first step to identifying your customer’s core concern and coming to an acceptable resolution.
Second, listen. You can’t fix what you don’t understand. Forget about everything else and focus on the customer. Be patient. Angry people don’t always get to the point or provide all the details you need right away. Take the time to understand the problem. Try to repeat the situation back to your customer in one or two sentences to confirm that you’re both on the same page.
Then, explore your options. Maybe there’s an easy solution to your customer’s problem: a replacement part, a replacement product, another visit with your expert. If you can’t find an obvious fix, look for a workaround. Ask others for input. See what you can do. No luck? See what someone else can do. The more effort you put into finding a solution, the greater the reward for both your customer and you.
Telling your customers that you’re sorry for their inconvenience isn’t enough. Tell them they matter and then show them by putting in the work, making them feel appreciated, and helping them move on.