What If The Customer Isn’t Right?

posted: Friday, January 14, 2011

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As salespeople, we often hear the phrase, "The customer is always right." I understand the premises behind that, and for the most part, agree with the idea. There are certain times, though, where you are going to be put in a situation where you have to tell a customer something that they do not want to hear. How do we handle that?

The easy answer is to communicate with each and every customer. That’s often easier said than done, especially when you are delivering good news such as, the loan is approved, or we can accept your offer. The tough part comes when you have to tell a customer that the financing did not come through.

The first thing to remember is that ‘most’ people just want their salespeople to be honest with them; they may not like the news they hear but they just want to know the truth. When you find yourself in a situation where you are telling a customer something they do not want to hear, use the pointers below:
  • Be honest - Customers can deal with a lot but should not have to deal with a salesperson that is not upfront with them.
  • Be direct - Don’t beat around the bush, deliver the news in a professional manner.
  • Provide options - Just because a customer does not get exactly what they want does not mean they still cannot be satisfied. For example, a person may be happy with an exchange rather than a full refund. As a salesperson, it is your responsibility to know and provide the options.
  • Be empathetic - Understand that your customers may have been looking forward to this purchase for a long time and the disappointment could be great. Have understanding and empathy when delivering "bad" news.
We all prefer to be able to give the customers what they want when they want it, but that is not always possible. Just remember to communicate the reasons why and be honest with every customer. If you do those two things, then most of your customers will respect you and return.

FINAO - Brad Huisken

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