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Roll Out the Red Carpet When You Need to: a Customer Service Skills Tip

Updated on August 16, 2009

The customer service industry is riddled with contradictions sometimes. The problem is that we’re trying to serve the customer as best we can while still trying to make a dollar off of them. The business must survive and to survive it needs to turn a profit. So, what some in the industry have devised is a sort of risk management program that they teach all of their employees that basically reacts to customer demands according to customer behavior.

When you read your customer properly you can kind of gauge how important their demands are to them and you can react accordingly in hopes that you will assuage the most disgruntled of customers and not over accommodate the only slightly peeved ones. This way you can give away a bunch of free stuff to the most pissed off customers so that they will feel like they had their problem fixed and you can blow off the less aggravated with just an apology to save the company some money.

Give Them What They Want But Only When They Really Want It

The idea is simple, the angrier your customer gets the more you must accommodate them. That’s how you know you have good customer service skills. Though, it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out that someone has a major problem when they’re screaming directly in your face. I like to roll out the red carpet when I can feel the venom drip off their fangs. I work in a hotel and if they are screaming bloody murder in the middle of the lobby because their coffee was too cold or we don’t have a rollaway bed for them I’ll throw free breakfasts and free parking at them. If they get real up into my face and don’t let up you might even see me deduct some zeros from the end of their hotel rate.

Always All About the Bottom Line

This policy works great for the hospitality business. The real angry folks get everything they want for nothing and walk away not so angry while the slightly annoyed don’t really get what they want but don’t complain too much about it because they were of course, only slightly annoyed. If you’re on the consumer end of this deal you’re probably a little aggravated about hearing this and I don’t blame you but it saves the company money in the long run when only the extremely squeaky wheel gets the oil.

Customer Service Agent? What You Should Know

So, what can you take from all of this as a customer service representative? Well, you need to know when to bring in the big appeasement guns and when to stand back and just apologize. Every business has some throw away stuff that we can give to our customers for free but no business likes doing that. Customers love free stuff but businesses hate it. Here’s the general rule of thumb:

It All Falls to You Eventually

The more severe the problem appears to be the more responsibility falls upon you. Follow that simple rule and always remember that if you are responsible your job is on the line and you will naturally begin to make drastic sacrifices to fix the problems of those customers who think everything is going wrong for them. That’s what customer service skills are all about.


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