Manage expectations with customers

From the course: De-Escalating Intense Situations

  • Course details

    Nearly every customer service professional has encountered a livid customer. These individuals may yell, curse, or forcefully disagree with a policy that you must enforce, but can't control. Such situations are unquestionably tough, but—with the right approach—you can consistently de-escalate the tension. In this course, instructor Myra Golden shares strategies for defusing intense situations, providing practical approaches that can help you calm angry customers. Myra goes over what often causes situations to escalate, and shares practical steps you can take to prevent an escalation. She also provides tips that can help you reframe conversations, manage expectations, handle customers who ask for your supervisor, and more.


    • Click here to view Myra Golden’s instructor page

      Myra Golden

      Customized Engaging Digital Customer Service Training and Instructor at LinkedIn Learning

      Myra Golden is an author, trainer, and keynote speaker.

      For over 20 years, Myra has been helping companies improve the customer experience through her customer service training workshops. She has a master's degree in human relations and a bachelor's degree in psychology, helping her to understand the challenges of developing the best customer experience as it relates to the psychology of the employees.

      Myra has helped McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Michelin, Frito-Lay, Vera Bradley and many others improve the customer experience through her training. She was named one of the top 10 customer service bloggers by Huffington Post, and she is the co-author of Beyond WOW: Defining A New Level of Customer Service.

    Skills covered in this course

  • Why you've been unsuccessful with angry customers

    - Recently, my flight was canceled due to tornadoes in my area, so I called my hotel to cancel the reservation since I wasn't getting into the city until the next morning. But the hotel told me that because I didn't cancel my reservation 72 hours in advance, I'd still be charged. I pointed out that I had to cancel because my flight canceled. The employee carefully managed my expectations, saying, "I'm noting that your flight was canceled "because of weather. "Our policy states that reservations not canceled 72 hours "prior to check-in will be charged a cancellation fee, "but I have opened a case documenting weather "as the reason you canceled. "The local hotel will research and get back to you. "Please understand this is solely "at the manager's discretion." I didn't like the news that I might still be charged, but I was impressed with the way the employee managed my expectations. I walked away with a clear understanding of the policy regardless of my circumstances. And this clarity prepared me for the potential cancellation charge. It protected me from being surprised by a final answer that I didn't want to hear. Things worked out in my favor. I did get the hotel charge refunded. I'd like to share two tips to help you improve your ability to manage expectations with your customers. First, paint a clear picture of what may happen. Your customers deserve transparency. When you're not clear, customers may make assumptions and can become upset when the final answer doesn't sync up with what they thought or hoped. Here's a good example. Based on your description of dropping your e-reader in the water and then immediately noticing the screen go dim, this does not appear to be a covered issue. And second, never overpromise. Let's say you've laid out clear expectations but the customer pushes back. I'd still like to try to open a claim, for example. To make the customer feel taken care of, you could go ahead and move forward with the claim, but you need to be careful not to promise anything. Here's how that might sound. If you'd still like to start a claim for your e-reader damage, I'm happy to walk you through the process, but I want you to be aware that based on what you've told me, this may not be a covered issue. Another thing that is helpful as you manage expectations is before you wrap up your conversations with your customer, think about what they need at this point. What questions are they likely to have? What's their next move going to be? Try to give them what they need without them voicing this request. So if you think the customer is likely to get anxious for a follow-up call from you in a week or so but you know research will take longer, you can manage expectations by speaking to this need. You could say it typically takes us 30 days and sometimes longer to review a claim. Remember the old adage, it's better to underpromise and overdeliver.

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