Superior Customer Service: Think Care Not Guilt
I hear some customer service reps, agents, and analysts — even leaders — say that you shouldn’t say “We’re sorry” to customers because it means “we’re guilty.” There is even one consultant who has written a book with this same idea. The problem is, it is simply not true. It’s a myth and a costly mistake to make.
Sorry doesn’t mean guilty. It means we care. In fact if we are thinking about who’s guilty, we aren’t even in the zone of delivering superior customer service and customer experience.
Superior Customer Service: Think Care, Not Guilt!
Superior customer service is never about guilt. It’s about responsibility, desire, and passion to serve and to care.
- Sorry doesn’t mean guilty. When we offer condolences at a funeral, it doesn’t mean we are guilty. Sorry is one of the many ways to express empathy. We’re sorry for your _________ doesn’t mean we’re guilty of it.
- When customers are upset with us, we are responsible (not guilty) for the less than satisfying experience they had. Let’s not back away or defend ourselves. Let’s make it an incredibly great moment that customers will remember. Studies show that outstanding service recovery skills often create some of the most loyal customers! Many customers believe that some mistake is bound to happen and they are wowed by great empathy and service recovery skills.
- Thinking that sorry means guilty says we are thinking of ourselves instead of the customer. We have misinterpreted the customer’s outburst as an accusation against us. It isn’t. Customers want care and resolution. Give them an unadulterated full out “we’re sorry”. Give them full commitment to resolve the issue and loads of care.
- Customers can get upset for many reasons. Don’t analyze whether they are valid reasons. Don’t analyze who’s at fault. Don’t act neutral. All of these are wasted time and effort. Go all the way and show them true empathy. Empathize emotions; don’t analyze them.
- Humility is not humiliation. Humility allows us to put the customers emotional needs ahead of ours. We are the professionals. This is not humiliation — the driving emotion behind the guilty/sorry debate. The debate is useless. It sidetracks us from the main goal of delivering superior customer service, memorable customer experience, and retaining the customers.
- Live with accountability not blame. We are responsible for delivering superior customer service experience. This is a far cry from being guilty when we miss the mark.
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Remember, if customers are complaining to us, they’re still interested in our business. We have a chance to show we care. A chance to wow. Don’t blow this chance by withholding empathy. Give a caring “we’re sorry”. It’s not a shameful “we’re guilty.”
Apologize to customers if they had a less than stellar experience. It is a chance for us to reaffirm commitment with true empathy. It’s a chance to show just how much we care about them. It’s a chance to improve our business and wow the customers even more.
Short 2 minute video with inspirational message for leaders and teams to deliver superior customer experience!
Replace guilt with care. Guilt doesn’t belong in superior customer service. Care does. Create a customer-centric culture that brings them back for more.
From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™
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Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.
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