Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Beware With Customer's Tantrums Nowadays

Customer's Tantrums Nowadays
There have been more than one situation in which I’ve felt the need to write this post. The last one was at a government’s office, while I was doing some personal errands.

As it is a normal procedure in this kind of situations, one has to schedule an appointment online before showing up at their offices. When you make the appointment, you are provided with a specific date and time to be there so that your specific situation is addressed and, God willing, properly resolved.

Well the fact is that a young girl came in that day, looked at the screen where the numbers that are currently being serviced are showcased, as we all do when arriving at the place, and I assume she was confident there was plenty of time before her number would show up in the screen.

A few minutes later, the girl got a call on her mobile phone, and apparently while she was on her conversation, her appointment’s number appeared on the screen but she did not notice it, and continued talking on the phone while the following numbers continued to appear on the screen, one after another.

When she was done on the phone and realized her number had already been called, she got really upset and went in to talk with employees in the office to complain why nobody had told her it was her turn and demanded to be attended immediately.

Very politely, I have to say, employees explained her it wouldn’t be possible to do as she demanded because there were other people in the room waiting for their turns, and that she would need to wait for all people with appointments to be taken care of first. She was so upset that even asked to speak with the office director, the person in charge and even threatened to fill out a legal claim.

A client’s tantrum can easily generate a reputation crisis for your business.

Thanks God this time, and after some good ten minutes of show in which the girl in question uttered all kinds of threats and recriminations, she finally agreed to leave the office and make an appointment for another day.

I don’t know if she finally understood that everything was her responsibility by being so distracted while talking on the phone, but what was totally clear on my mind that any of your customers, rightly or not, might make your business go through a difficult time as a result of its own outburst.

You should always have a plan prepared in advance to handle a reputation crisis.

What truly caught my attention was how calmly employees in the office handled the situation. It was obvious that either they were specifically trained for such situations, or it was not the first time something like that happened and they already knew how to handle it.

In any case, they were able to help the girl calm down, stop complaining, listen to what could have been the reason behind the whole thing and go back to her house to follow the corresponding procedure recommended in situations like this. Obviously, whether or not they had a plan, which they did worked for them.

But what happens if it doesn’t work and the customer continues upset and then ragingly storms to social media to vent its frustration towards your company, even when there is no reason for it?

A customer who complains, even for the wrong reason, continues to be a complaining one.

It is therefore necessary to know in advance how to handle a situation like this. The first thing to do is properly identify if the customer is upset by a valid reason, that is, to find out what the reason is behind the whole situation.

If the customer is right and its complaint valid, it makes total sense to recognize the error immediately, apologize as necessary and offer the solution that better suits the specific situation. Don’t ever get into endless discussions with the client trying to convince it otherwise if you already know its complaint is valid.

This will only result in burning out the relationship and an unnecessarily increase in  frustration towards your brand and business. If your customer is right, recognize it. Then provide a prompt, adequate solution to the problem and move on. Move even faster if your customer has taken its complaint to a public space or social networks: the less it lasts, the better for your brand’s reputation and company.

You must do everything in your power to make a reputation crisis last as little as possible.

However, if there is no reason backing up your customer’s complaint, then you should proceed to explain clearly what the situation is and which could be the reason behind the whole problem. In our story today, the reasons were obvious: our girl got so distracted while on the phone that she didn’t pay attention to the screen when her appointment number was called.

From that point on, its claim ceased to be valid. In such situation, offering your customer a clear explanation of the situation and what could have led to the misunderstanding, will help him or her to calm down faster.

If the client calms down quickly and clearly understands the situation, the crisis will have been nothing but a rough time, and will not last long.

We customers have to learn to be less arrogant and spoiled.

And I’d like to take this opportunity to make a wake-up call for all of us as consumers and customers we are: We should stop being so arrogant and acting as spoiled kids. We must learn to live in community, to respect other people’s rights and honor our own obligations.

Stop being spoiled consumers and learn to claim only when there is a valid and verifiable reason.

Having “Complaint forms” available or simply knowing we can initiate a legal claim against a company when we feel something went wrong, shouldn’t mean we can complain for the reason that better fits our whims; or that we can compromise other people’s seriousness at their jobs simply because that day we decided to pay more attention to our mobile phones, instead of being aware of when our appointment number would appear on the screen.

It makes no sense to put the reputation of a company in jeopardy just because you had a tantrum and decided to act like a child instead of an educated consumer, or does it?

Photo credit: evilratalex - Dollarphotoclub

I recommend you reading the following posts on this blog:
Let's Make A Responsible Use Of Our Voice In Social Media
All it took was a bad experience one day with one employee

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