The customer’s always right, right? Small businesses, freelance service providers and contracted professionals have enough interactions with clients to know that it’s a lot more complicated than that.
The customer service relationship is probably the most unequal one in commerce, and there’s nothing really wrong with that. Beyond extreme unpleasant cases (in which it doesn’t matter how good or bad the service actually was), clients understand their position of power but will mostly be appreciative for good and attentive service.
One of the important elements of excellent service is the actual communication with the client. Often what you say matters less than how you say it, and this can go both ways – your communication style can influence the interaction both for better and for worse.
To help you prevent troublesome interactions, allow us to suggest a list of things you certainly DO NOT want to say to your clients:
|“There’s nothing wrong with this product.” Even if you are confident that your goods are in perfect shape, don’t accuse your client of lack of understanding, or even worse, lying. Ask them to guide you through what they did, what happened and then gently correct them if you notice an error.|
|“Could you try again later?” You don’t want to let a client feel like their time doesn’t matter, and that they’re not important enough for you to give them prompt service. Sure, there will be times you will not be able to assist right away. In these cases, apologize for the delay, ask them whether another time will be all right with them, and offer some kind of reward for their patience.|
|“You should’ve read closer.” Who amongst us hasn’t missed the fine print once or twice? Even if you can’t do anything to change your clients’ order or to refund them, you should still make it clear that you value their business and try to come up with a possible compromise.|
|“I don’t know.” The right way to say this would be: “I’m not sure, but I will check this for you.” Not remembering every single detail is no big deal, but being indifferent about it sure is.|
|“That’s not how we do things here.” Newsflash: the client shouldn’t care about how you’re used to running your business. They care about how you can assist them, and even if you cannot, the proper reaction would be to express regret over the fact.|
|“I’m doing you a favor.” No, that’s almost never the case. Even if you feel that you’re being too generous, a satisfied customer is worth more than a few more bucks.|
|“That’s not my responsibility.” When a client approaches you with a concern or a problem, you need to serve them with a solution and not with further complications. You will not be able to address all of the issues your clients will ever have, but possibly you can point the ones you can’t help in the right direction, make things easy for them by offering personal guidance, or offer a shortcut that will make them feel like VIPs.|
|“Don’t worry about it.” If you believe that a client is overreacting or exaggerating in their concern over something, don’t just tell them they are wrong. Show them why their concern is void in a friendly and not condescending tone, and promise them personal assistance if anything unexpected happens.|
|“I don’t need your business.” If that had been the case you wouldn’t be in business, right? If you think a rude client has gone too far, don’t let the tones get aggressive and hostile. Simply tell them you can’t do anything to help them and ask them to kindly leave.|
|“This is none of my concern.” The underlying assumption of a customer service relationship is that the client’s satisfaction is THE major concern. If you appear to be careless about your clients’ needs – explicitly or implicitly – you are doing something fundamentally wrong that will cost you more than just one angry customer.|
Ready to take your business online? Create a free website with Wix!
Get The Wix Blog
Get the latest and freshest content on creating
& marketing your Wix website.