Don’t Badmouth Your Competition

A Reader’s Question:

My organization has many competitors. When customers call and question our level of service as compared to our competitors, what are some professional ways of describing our excellent offering, without badmouthing our competition?

Response from the Editors:

Congratulations on recognizing that you won’t win business by criticizing your competition. Speaking poorly of other organizations sets a negative tone and tells the customer that your product doesn’t have its own benefits and features. Use these statements to answer customers’ questions about your competition without sounding defensive:

Customer: “The store down the street has much lower prices.”

Your response: “Our prices reflect the high quality of our products and the excellent service we provide. Rave reviews tell us that our products are worth what we charge.” That response highlights your valuable offering without directly disparaging the competition.

Customer: “There are so many other auto repair shops in the area. Why should we use your service?”

Your response: “We feature a team of professionals that integrates all the steps in the repair process. As a result, you receive quicker diagnoses, estimates and repairs on your vehicle.” Be prepared with specific benefits your organization offers.

Quote of the Week:

“It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.”

—Henry Ford

Tip of the Week:

Show understanding

When a customer, co-worker or your supervisor makes a mistake, recognize that nobody’s perfect. We’re all human beings, and we’re all imperfect. Maybe the person was distracted by a crisis in his or her personal life and wasn’t concentrating on the job. Focus on helping correct the mistake, not criticizing, with these tips:

  • Offer forgiveness. Say: “It’s all right. Everyone as a bad day. Let’s look at how we can solve the problem.”
  • Add humor. Say: “I understand how you may have forgotten our delivery person was arriving today. If my head was not attached to my body, sometimes I think I would forget to put it on every morning.”

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Each issue of the First-Rate Customer Service Forum offers you tips for improving your customer service skills. Plus, you have the opportunity to request advice on your most vexing customer service problems—and receive feedback from your peers and our panel of editors!

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