Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

Feb 4, 2019

Jeff MowattBy Jeff Mowatt

You may have great products but you can still have customer service problems caused by bad weather, equipment failures, or human error. While you can’t control external events, you can control what you say to upset customers. Certain phrases will serve to either diffuse or enflame. After over 20 years of speaking at conferences and training teams on customer service, here are my top 10 worst things to say to unhappy customers (from least offensive to worst), along with tips for regaining trust.


10. “Want the good news or bad?”

When customers hear bad news they tend to catastrophize. They become so focused on the obstacles that they don’t see the bigger picture. So when you have both good news and bad to deliver, begin with the good. That way they begin with the proper perspective.

9. “Bear with us.”

To customers, that phrase comes across as an order. It also implies that your service is something to be tolerated. When problems occur, it’s better to express appreciation than give orders. Instead, say: “We appreciate your patience.”

8. “We can’t…”

Customers don’t want to hear what you can’t do. You need to move quickly to, “Here’s what we can do…”

7. “It won’t be here until…“

Similar to phrase #8, the wording here is negative. Instead, word your message positively with, “It will be here as soon as…”

6. “Yes, but…“

The word “but” negates whatever precedes it. Responding to a customer with, “Yes, but…” means you’ve started an argument. Instead, replace but with and as in, “Yes, and…”

5. “Looks like shipping messed-up.“

Blaming other employees, departments, or suppliers looks like deflecting responsibility. You represent your company so take ownership on behalf of your entire team with words like, “Looks like we messed up.” Better yet state, “Your problem just became my problem. I’m going to pursue this until it’s resolved and you tell me you’re satisfied.”

4. “Why didn’t…?”

Asking a customer why something was or wasn’t done is inviting them to start blaming. You’ll get answers like, “I guess so-and-so must have messed-up.” It makes things worse. Next time you’re gathering information, ask who, what, where, when, and how questions. Don’t ask why.


3. “Our policy is…”


When foul-ups occur customers don’t want to hear your standard procedures. After all, mistakes should be a rare occurrence right? Instead, explain why the policy is there. If the policy doesn’t make sense, then obviously it should be changed. When training your team, make sure everyone understands which procedures are meant to be guidelines, not policies.


2. “What do you want us to do?”

The customer’s response to this question may be physically uncomfortable: “I’ll tell you what you can do with this product!” Instead ask, ‘What will work best for you?’ Another option is to state, “We want to do the right thing. What do you think would be fair?” Then, on top of fixing the problem add a slight extra that helps compensate customers for the hassle. That way you convert an upset customer into an advocate.


1. “You jerk!” (or other colourful names when a customer swears at you)


I believe employees are paid to take the heat, not the abuse. When dealing with a customer who is swearing at you over the phone, state, “Mr. X, I want to help you. But I can’t help you when you’re using that language. So, let’s resolve this without using that language.” If they continue swearing, then say, “Mr. X, as I said, I want to help you but I can’t help you when you’re using that language. So, I’m going to hang up now. Please call back when you’re ready to talk about this without using that language. Good-bye.” Then, immediately brief your supervisor so they’ll be forewarned when the caller phones asking to speak with the manager.


Bottom line: it’s human nature for employees to want to avoid dealing with angry customers. But in the real world of delays and occasional mistakes, avoiding confrontation is impossible. Now and then, things will go wrong. In too many organizations the default becomes, “You’ll need to speak with my manager.”
Of course, this worsens customer aggravation because it forces them to repeat themselves. And it makes employees feel like doormats. You’ll have happier customers and a more engaged workforce by equipping your team with simple communication tools to use when things go wrong.

This article is based on the bestselling book, Influence with Ease by Hall of Fame motivational speaker Jeff Mowatt. To obtain your own copy of his book or to inquire about engaging Jeff for your team, visit www.jeffmowatt.com. Watch for more articles from Jeff in future issues.

 

 

Carol McGloganBy Carol McGlogan

We are on the cusp of a major tidal wave hitting our industry; the onslaught of 10,000 new employees are set to replace the current base who are over 55 years of age and are on the horizon of retirement. This talent refresh brings on many opportunities for progress to address evolving customer needs, new product solutions and supply chain digitization. New skills and new ways of thinking will propel us forward. However, the challenge this talent pool will have is to understand the industry that they have settled in. This challenge is further magnified as the time required to absorb industry knowledge is compressed due to the accelerated exit of industry knowledge.

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Swati Vora-PatelBy Swati Vora-Patel

The Electrical industry is facing a runway of crossroads — and digital innovation intersects each one of the crossroads. Digital advancements in technology are transforming everything from product development and manufacturing to supply chain management and customer purchasing behaviours. While all of these changes have digitization at the core, there’s another factor that our industry needs to bring front and centre: People.

 

 

 

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Value of Building Permits - DecemberThe total value of building permits issued by Canadian municipalities increased 7.4% to $8.7 billion in December. Increases were reported in five provinces, led by Ontario (+10.5% to $3.4 billion) and Quebec (+15.8% to $2.2 billion). For 2019 overall, municipalities issued $102.4 billion worth of permits, up 2.6% compared with 2018.

Value of residential permits up

The total value of permits for multi-family dwellings was up 15.9% to $2.9 billion in December, mostly due to large projects in the census metropolitan areas (CMAs) of Montreal and Vancouver.

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Peers & Profiles

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Sean joined Ideal Industries mid-2019 after 13-years in lighting, working for companies like Phillips, Franklin Empire, and Standard Products. Throughout that time, he made his way from inside sales, to outside sales and up into management.

 

 

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