Respond to suspect activity
by Betty Hintch, editor, First-Rate Customer Service Forum
During the holidays, you will serve more customers than usual—and you could come face to face with desperate customers who will steal or deceive to meet the demands of the season. If you suspect illegal activity, follow this advice to avoid endangering yourself:
- Be prepared. Learn your organization’s policies for handling theft and other dishonest acts. You should have them memorized so that you can act quickly and appropriately.
- Involve your supervisor and/or security personnel. They are trained to handle these types of situations.
- Don’t try to apprehend a thief on your own. If a customer seems dangerous or threatening, follow your organization’s policy for contacting the local police department.
- Be direct. If the dishonest act doesn’t present a dangerous situation, remind the customer that it isn’t allowed. Example: “Sorry, but our rules don’t allow more than one coupon per purchase. However, if you would like to come back to our store tomorrow and use the second coupon, I will be happy to assist you in picking out a matching coat for the outfit.”
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Last month’s poll
First-Rate Customer Service Forum readers know how to calm angry customers. Half of the respondents to last month’s survey said that their best method for handling difficult customers is to repeat their complaints to ensure understanding. That also calms the customer by signaling the rep is serious about offering a solution. The other half of respondents said they offer a solution as quickly as possible.
Offer solutions to difficult service problems that keep the customer and your boss happy. “Keys to Dealing with Angry & Frustrated Customers – Resolving Conflict without Giving Away the Store!” is an audio CD that features tips to defuse anger and reach agreements that balance the interests of customers and organizations.
Special thanks to those who provided feedback to last month’s survey. Read on to share your challenges during telephone conversations with customers.
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