Customer Miller claims a late delivery via email. The back-office employee reacts promptly - also via email. On a factual basis nothing is wrong with that. However, if you want to maintain a good relationship with the customer this decision is wrong, because what you cannot read in the mail is: how angry the client is, which consequences arise for them, and how you can make them happy again.
That is why I strongly recommend grabbing the phone when there is any risk of a conflict. Very often it’s even quicker than writing a mail. At the same time it’s much easier to solve problems when you are talking directly. And the most important thing is to show the customer that you are there for them and that they are not just a “routine case”.
In my seminars I often hear two justifications for why emails might still be better:
- “I don’t have the time.” My answer to that: It doesn’t take longer. If you customer is calm and factual you can just clarify on the phone what they expect you to do and how you can solve the problem. Often, that takes even less time than mailing back and forth a couple of times. Far more important is that an angry customer can let off steam. If you give them some time, listen and show understanding, you’ve already fixed the relationship. A dissatisfied client on the other hand needs more than one attempt until they are happy again when you try to resolve things via email.
- “When I write emails everything is documented.” I get that, but it still doesn’t change my mind. The personal contact in a tricky situation is so important that it has priority. After the conversation you can capture the results in an email. That way you make sure that there aren’t misunderstandings and you have proof of your agreement.
The true reason for “verbal shyness” is rarely talked about: It can be unpleasant to talk to upset customers. I can understand that. Yet at the same time, I know that it can be really satisfying. If you manage to calm an angry client down and at the end they even say thank you (I’ve experienced that quite often) complaints can be one of the most satisfying tasks in sales.
And if you don’t know how to do it, book a seminar with me and I will show you how. I can encourage you. Promise!