Every mobile storage business must deal with customer conflict from time to time. Disagreements over bills, delayed deliveries, damaged goods will inevitably happen. When they do, the way you respond will set the tone for your operations and your reputation. Thinking through conflict is the best way to resolve it to the satisfaction of the customer, and the following 9 tips will help you get through it quickly and effectively.
1. Listen Carefully
Allow the customer to vent their frustrations or concerns. Listen closely to what they have to say. When you listen, you pick up valuable insight into the ways your operations impact your customers.
2. Express Empathy
Empathizing with the customer lets them know that you are on their side. It’s an effective way to diffuse anger and start working towards a resolution.
3. Watch Your Tone & Monitor Your Expressions
Your tone of voice and your facial expressions can either diffuse or escalate a conflict. Be careful to regulate your mood no matter what the customer says or how outlandish their complaint may seem.
4. Use Words Wisely
Choose words that leave open the possibility for a resolution. Avoid using words like “always” or “never,” as these are absolutes. Instead, use words such as “possible” or “sometimes.” This has a significant psychological impact on the customer because it shows them that a resolution can occur.
5. Keep it Private
Never argue with a customer who is within earshot of another customer or an employee. Take it behind closed doors where the conversation can be completed in private. An angry customer will consider this a sign that you respect them and their privacy.
6. Take Notes & Repeat the Customer’s Complaint
Take notes of what the customer is saying. If the conversation is in person, ask if you can do this while they talk. They will see it as a sign that you’re trying to fully understand the problem. When they are finished talking, repeat what they have said and summarize the complaint back to them. If there are any holes in your understanding of the problem, they’ll fill in the blanks for you.
7. Take Responsibility
If the complaint stems from a mistake your mobile storage made, then own up to it without delay. This is effective whether you dropped the container and shattered the fine China or sent the container to the wrong address and delayed delivery. Owning the error opens a door that you can walk through towards a resolution.
Give it a few days after a conflict has been resolved to contact the customer again. Thank them for their business and find out how the resolution has impacted them. If the reason for their complaint was your fault, let them know what corrective steps you’ve taken to prevent a recurrence in the future.
If follow-up doesn’t work…
9. Walk Away
A mobile storage business shouldn’t be “pushed over” by an angry customer. If an appropriate resolution has been offered and the customer is still angry, then it is time to walk away. Never allow yourself or your employees to be bullied, cajoled, insulted, or harassed.
Even the most efficient and highly regarded mobile storage operations will have to navigate customer conflict at some point. The keys to calming turbulent waters and soothing seared nerves are always in the operator’s hands. Indeed, the mobile storage operator that masters conflict resolution is able to move past conflicts quickly and without damaging the business’ reputation. This allows the operator to keep their focus on building and growing the business.