What keeps customers coming back? Most of the time the answer is excellent customer service, which makes nailing it crucial to any business. While there are many things you can do to aim for good customer service, we believe that truly excellent customer service stems from a wish to make the customer’s experience a great one.
Every so often, businesses get special requests, where customers ask for small changes to their order here and there. “I’d like this colour of roses instead of the default one.” “I’d like the cut of this suit to be more fitted.” “I’d like…”
While the requests may be small, the fact that the customer made a point to request for it makes it important for businesses to try to meet it.
Sure, customer requests take more cognitive effort to process. You’ve refined your regular order-taking procedure, and now you’ve got to do that extra bit to meet the customised order.
However, the time and effort spent is worth it. People are different and so are customers, so it’s not unexpected that there will be those who want something tweaked. Businesses that specialise in custom orders such as florists and tailors receive and manage personalisation requests on a daily basis, so it can be done. It really all boils down to a willingness to be flexible.
To simplify the process and achieve the best outcome possible, here are three questions you can quickly run through in your mind when faced with a customer request.
“What is the request?”
This is the most basic question, but it’s often underrated. When customers make a specific request they do it for a reason, so it’s worth paying them the proper attention.
“Why is the customer asking for this?”
Tap on your listening skills and find out the reason behind this request. There’s usually a legitimate underlying issue that’s important to the customer, and saying a straight-out no can be offensive.
This step is important to figure out because let’s say you can’t accede to that particular request. As long as you understand the motivation behind the request, you can then offer an alternative solution that meets that same need. You get to offer a more doable solution and the customer gets what he wants. Win-win.
“How can I help the customer achieve this?”
Here, the positive wording is key. It’s not so much whether it’s doable or whether you are helping or hindering the customer from accomplishing it. Focusing on the solution structures your mind to seek ways to meet the customer’s needs and gain a satisfactory outcome for the both of you.
This might sound simple, but these three questions frame the approach you take to handling any customer request, which can be make-or-break in customer service.
The next time a customer makes a special request, instead of hearing “I need you to do something troublesome for me,” hear this: “I like your product/service, but it would be even better if you could make a few small changes.”
Try your best to fulfil it, and you’ll be looking at a satisfied, and potentially return, customer.