Profitability Revolution Paradigm
Tempers get short quickly and stress increases when it is busy and the telephone is ringing off the hook. This means that your dispatchers get the brunt of the continuous telephone. Clients are uncomfortable which means they have short tempers and are likely to be nasty to the dispatchers when they can’t get their problem solved immediately.
Here are some words and phrases dispatchers should refrain from so they don’t “fuel the fire” and get a mad client even madder. The objective is to calm an angry client and take care of his problem as efficiently as you can.
1. Make sure the dispatcher and other people answering the telephone have a calm, pleasant voice. If they sound hurried and stressed, the client will get more stressed out. They should speak pleasantly and slowly so that the client on the other end starts mirroring her tone of voice. This is one of the most subtle and best ways to calm down an angry client.
So, even if your dispatcher has three technicians and two lines holding, she must act as if this client is the only one she has at the moment. In busy times of the year make sure you have back up for the dispatcher so that technicians and clients aren’t waiting long.
2. We’re busy. Dispatchers have a tendency to use this phrase to explain why a technician can’t get to the client sooner. The client doesn’t care that you’re busy. She expects that you have a technician waiting around to solve her problem! We all know this is unrealistic. However, clients don’t need to know how many calls you have or how tired your technicians are. Clients care about getting their problems fixed and want to know when that will happen. The fact that you are busy is your problem. Just let the client know when you can get there to fix her problem.
3. No. Eliminate all negative words from your vocabulary. The strongest negative word, “no,” when said to an upset Client is like pouring gasoline on a fire. The last thing that you want to do with an upset client is tell him no. He is already upset that he has to spend money on a surprise. And, it is an emergency to him. If you can’t get there right away, then he will be even more upset if you say no. Find a way to say no with out saying no. Tell him what his options are and let him choose. Reassure him that you empathize with his problem and are doing your best to get it taken care of as quickly as possible.
4. We can’t, won’t, don’t, etc. Like the word “no,” these words are just as upsetting to an already stressed out Client. Tell him what you can do and what he can expect. Can is a positive word and lets him know that you are doing your best to take care of his problem and get him comfortable again quickly. You might also include the phrase “if you can do this we can do that” as part of the explanation. For example, if today is Monday and your service technicians are booked until Thursday, you might say one of two things: “Mr. Smith, our first available service technician can get to your home on Thursday morning. If you can give me a number where I can reach you, I can put your name on a waiting list if there is a cancellation.
Or, Mr. Smith, our first available regularly scheduled appointment is Thursday. If you can approve overtime charges I can get a service technician there this evening. It might be late but he will get there.
Either of these two phrases shows that you are empathizing with the client and are doing your best to see what you can do. Of course, for service agreement clients your policy may be to get there within 24 hours even if you have to pay your technicians overtime (while the customer doesn’t pay overtime).
5. “It’s our policy”. If the client doesn’t like what you are saying about policy he will tell you to change the policy. Then you get into the words “I can’t” which is a negative phrase and you start the negative cycle of conversation. Or, the client wants to speak with someone who can change the policy. And, that doesn’t solve his problem.
Use positive phrases rather than negative phrases. If a client is upset, then negative words will make him more upset. And, the best thing you can do is turn an upset client into a calmed down client. Let the customer know what you can do for him rather than what you can’t do. Find ways of saying no without saying no. The phrase, if you can do X we can do X is a good alternative to no.
If you can make your irate and upset clients happy, you have a better chance of keeping their business and not having them look up your competition in the yellow pages and calling them!