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Going Beyond Your Realm - 14214_30
find  yourself  becoming  cautious  and  defensive.  If  the customer  is  anxious  or  worried,  you  may  react  by becoming vague and noncommittal. If the customer displays an impersonal attitude, you may do the same. In these situations, you have permitted the customer to set the mood for your contact. Instead of taking the initiative, or acting, you have reacted. Why? It is just human nature and you, the PN, must be aware of this. The tendency to remain neutral and then respond to the customer’s mood is a defensive measure. We tend  to  wait  for  other  people  to  reveal  their  attitudes before  we  commit  ourselves.  That  way,  we  do  not waste  any  of  our  friendliness  or  good  humor  on someone not worthy of it. We hesitate to make the first move for fear that the other person will reject the move by responding negatively or not at all. The best time to influence  the  customer’s  mood  is  when  you  first acknowledge his or her presence. In this way, you are taking  control  of  the  situation  and  providing  the  best possible  conditions  under  which  you  can  help  this person. Hostility and anxiety will reduce the customer’s ability to see a problem fully, to express it correctly, and to accept the solution objectively. If you respond with the same mood, these negative emotions escalate and   your   ability   to   deal   with   the   problem   is compromised.  When  the  customer  is  emotionally upset, there are two problems: (1) the emotion and (2) the need that aroused it. Remember, there is nothing to be  gained  by  responding  in  kind  to  the  customer’s mood.  In  fact,  such  a  response  will  probably  make matters worse. You should try to calm the customer by being calm yourself and show the customer by your actions that you are ready, willing, and able to handle the  problem. AMIABLE RUNAROUND The emphasis on being friendly to the customer is a means to an end—not an end in itself. You must also provide good customer service. You do not have the choice of providing either the friendly atmosphere or the good service-you must provide both. When   a   friendly,   helpful   atmosphere   is encountered at the contact point, the customer is put at ease  and  may  be  able  to  state  the  problem  more accurately. Then you are expected to take constructive action to help the customer correct his or her problem. But, some customer service representatives think that their job is to keep the customers smiling and get rid of them as soon as possible. True, the customer goes away  happy,  but  the  happy  attitude  will  not  last. Sooner  or  later,  that  customer  will  have  to  return because nothing was done about the problem. You can bet this customer will not be in a good frame of mind. In  helping  people,  you  will  discover  that  a considerable  amount  of  time  and  effort  is  required  to deal with some customers’ problems or needs. In such instances, you may decide that it will be easier for you if you convince the customer that no action is really necessary.  But  this  response  will  have  an  even  worse effect than denying the service to the customer because you are, in fact, denying the reality of the customer’s problem. If a customer requests (and is entitled to) a service, it is your responsibility to provide it. When you can say to a customer, “It is all taken care of,” you are promising that person that all necessary actions have been completed. This is a good response if it is the truth. If it is not, you have done a disservice—not a service—to  your  customer,  your  office,  your  rating, and the Navy. Have you ever said to a customer, “Yes, everything is taken care of’ when in fact it was not? If so, you should realize that this is a bad way of doing business. Remember, you should be both tactful and truthful when you deal with your customers. PROMISE  THE  CUSTOMER  ANYTHING This type of service is similar to giving your poor customer the amiable runaround we just discussed. Promising the customer anything may be a method you choose  to  “Keep  ‘em  smiling,”  but  they  will  not  be smiling  long.  Even  you,  a  member  of  a  customer service rating, have encountered a customer service representative  who  agreed  with  every  statement  you made, sympathized with you, promised you everything you  wanted,  and  essentially  did  nothing.  This sometimes  develops  as  a  result  of  a  short-timer’s attitude in which the representative may think, “Sure, I’ll promise you whatever you want to hear just to get rid of you. I’ll be long gone when you come back to find  out  why  nothing  has  been  done.”  This  type  of response  may  leave  the  customer  temporarily  satisfied, but it has only postponed the problem and may have complicated it because of loss of time. It is also a lousy way to do business. As human beings, we tend to hear what we want to hear. This often leads us to expect or hope for results that  are  based  on  misunderstanding,  misinterpretation of fact, rumor, or even wishful thinking. Sometimes, the results your customer wants may be impossible, or at least very difficult, for you to deliver. Be alert! This will  usually  tell  you  how  the  customer  wants  it 1-19

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