Watch your language!
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Watch your language!
Over the last year or so I’ve been peeling back layers, giving you a behind-the-scenes look at the world of Malachy. This transparency is my way of showing you how committed the Malachy team is to our customers. Recently, I had what I’d call a teachable moment. A longtime customer was treated well by a member of my staff, but the way our solution to his need was communicated made him feel less love rather than more.
When you’re busy from the minute you clock in to the minute you clock out, it’s not easy to communicate sunshine and lollipops all the time. Especially when your boss is leaning on you for better, stronger, faster. Easy? No. Necessary? Yes. Customers are human beings who want to know they’re appreciated. Your bad day isn’t their problem. Before you take the next call or fire off another email, take a look through these tips to show the love when it matters most.
It’s all in the delivery
Nobody likes to deliver bad news, but somebody has to do it and it’s probably going to be you. As tempting as it is to get the unpleasantness over as soon as possible by starting with, “I’m afraid I have some bad news,” or “There’s no easy way to say this, but…” you have to keep your head and show authority, responsibility and confidence.
“Susan, I want you to know that we can handle this situation and we can get going on it right away. The odor you’ve noticed is actually…” I know, you want to know what the odor was but that’s not the point here. The point is that you’re not telling Susan, “Geez, this is a mess and we are up a creek here.” You’re telling her that you’re the professional and you’re here to fix the problem.
Good news first
The mystery odor is a problem today but you can’t get anybody to investigate it during normal business hours until a week from today. Don’t sugar coat it. If you charge an after-hours fee, but you can be onsite by 8pm start with that. “We can get somebody over there before 9 tonight.” Don’t hide the extra fee, just don’t lead with it or the fact that it will be a week before somebody can make it during the day. Customers will determine if this is an emergency and in an emergency, they expect extra fees. What they heard first, though, is that you are able to address their issue almost immediately.
If part of your job is dealing with people and you generally hate dealing with people, you need a new job. Maybe you can’t give a customer what he or she needs. You can still give them some kindness. You’re not going to get sued for saying, “I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this,” or “That sounds terrible.” But you will be remembered.
As Maya Angelou said, “At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, but they will remember how you made them feel.” Choose your words carefully and make your customer feel loved.