3 Words You Never Want to Hear

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In the customer service industry, there are three words you don’t want to hear from your customers. There are probably a lot of three-word phrases that come to your mind, such as ‘’Want a refund’’, ‘’Lower your prices’’. But those three words are not the words that should concern you because they are easy to deal with. As a customer service representative, you never want these words to cross customers’ minds if you want to properly interact with them.

These words are ‘’That’s not fair!’’.
Let’s discuss here how to successfully avoid them during the conversation with the customer.

1. Equal and fair are not the same.

Someone might think that equal treatment means fair treatment. That’s not true! The reason is simple – your customer is not comparing his treatment to that of other customers. He is comparing how he is treated by this business to their treatment by other businesses. He also compares your treatment of him to the concept of fairness they’ve developed in the past. This is easily explained on simple example – when you go to a doctor and you routinely wait 45 minutes past your appointment time, and your friends tell you they had same experience, we are all treated equally. But if someone asks if you are treated fairly, the answer would be negative. So you found the doctor who cut your wait time to five minutes.

2. Part of our culture.

The concept of being fair with people is part of our culture, ever since we were little kids. Our parents taught us that ‘’everyone needs a chance’’ and to ‘’flip a coin’’ every time there is a dispute because that’s a ‘’fair’’ thing to do. Because it is deeply integrated into our culture, we will probably get really angry when people do something we consider unfair. Fairness is the most of the time in the back of customer’s mind, so he can evaluate your work. The customer evaluates if your prices are ‘’fair’’ in comparison to others. He also compares the quality of your service and goods. No one wants to see unhappy customers, so give your best to avoid them saying or even thinking ‘’That’s not fair!’’. This negative emotion and thoughts almost always lead to loss of those customers. Knowing that the customers tell each other about ‘’unfair treatments’’, this can lead to strong negative promotion.
3. Increasing your fairness quotient.

Sometimes we can’t serve customers as quickly as they prefer, or handle their complaints or solve their problems the way they would like to. Even if we can’t give them the amount of time they need and if they are not totally happy with our service, they are likely to accept it if they feel they’ve been treated fairly. There are certain ways to do this:
-       First, reevaluate your policies, behavior and operation. Is everything you are doing fair to your customers? Or does it show bad policy, inflexibility or poor business operation?
-       If you believe that you are doing fair, try to explain to the customers the reason for delaying or why you can’t solve the problem the way they want. Avoid using the sentences as ‘’That’s our policy’’ and ‘’That’s the way it is’’ because these are not the proper explanations. Increased perception of fairness and understanding must follow your explanation. Use your communication skills to avoid you sound like you are giving a lecture to the customer, because that would be just inappropriate.
-       If the customer has something to say, give him a fair hearing. Doing differently and cutting him off will seem unfair to the customer. If you express the empathy and make sure the customer believes you understand how he feels, the way he percepts understanding and fairness will be far greater.
-       When you realize the customer is made upset or inconvenienced with any of your actions, you should apologize, because that’s only fair. Explain that you are giving everything to do the fairest actions for both sides given the circumstances.
-       If there is a situation with a simple confusion or misunderstanding, maintain the perception of fairness and good relations and make an exception. At the end, thank the customer for understanding and that way increase his perception of your value for them.

When the mistakes were made, the interaction is not always productive as we would like to. In these situations, you could see that customer might be still unhappy with your response, but the second chance is just around the corner if you manage to make him think ‘’At least you are fair’’.

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