No Trust, No Us.

Once upon a time there was a customer service and account representative named Cornelius. Cornelius works for a leading regional paper distributor that is quickly making an impact in their community and turning a steady profit. His responsibility is to close sales with specific company accounts while maintaining positive relationships with all customers. His week has been going along as it normally does but Cornelius’ week is about to change drastically. Two clients that Cornelius was assigned to last week came in and personally handed in complaints about the service they had received from the company. Both clients felt that their needs had not been cared for and that they may be better off subscribing to a substitute provider. This situation is a common occurrence that requires a lot of attention from the company.  Cornelius must institute certain behaviors if he wants to save the relationship he has with the client and restore the trust that they once had.

The eight steps to restoring a clients trust after a poor experience are be prepared, get the facts, find the feelings, let them know you got it, dispute the facts, frame the problem, handle the feelings, and handle the problem. All of these steps carry a vital piece to the rebuilding process the client relationship is undergoing. Being prepared for any complaint implies that the representative knows the clients background in great detail. This will help the company view the problem from the client’s scope. Getting the facts of the situation provides you with insight on how you can assign responsibility for the problem. Finding the feelings implies that the representative become empathetic for the client’s circumstance. Understanding the emotions attached to the complaint is critical for successful resolution. Letting the client know that you got it is a reassurance tactic that directly helps the condition of trust between the two parties. This will indicate to the clients that their problem is received personal attention from the company. Disputing the facts is a step utilized only if need be. If any facts stated by the client seems questionable, it is okay to consult with other sources to ensure factual validity of a story. Framing the problem help both you and the client look at the problem from the most positive and productive perspective. Applying this perspective helps lead to an identical solution. Handling any remaining negative feeling is also a focus. By putting negative feelings and emotions to rest, it grants the new relationship more room the flourish. Last but not least, handling the problem. This stage requires that the representative institute an action plan that solves the clients personal and emotional issues with the company.

Personally, I haven’t held a position where I was directly responsible for a client’s account or business. However, while I was employed as a commercial roofer I did a lot of customer interface while out on work orders. Every destination we stop at is either to repair or investigate a customer complaint. A lot of times when we first greet the client they can appear very hostile. As a representative we are told not to respond to a client’s negative emotions because it may feed it. We must walk through the issue they had step by step is order to institute a sound resolution. On the basis of my experience I would say that an upset client just wants to be heard. They want to make sure that you understand what they went through and how the complaint effected them. In order to successfully reinstate client trust I would make them feel heard and make them feel confident that it won’t happen again.

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