Apologizing ‘often’ can get us into trouble
Tuscaloosa, AL – Customer relations experts suggest that when a customer comes to you with a complaint, the best action to take is to apologize quickly and often.
While apologizing quickly is usually warranted, apologizing “often” can get us into trouble according to a 2018 study.*
To come to this conclusion, researchers videotaped more than 100 airport customer service representatives dealing with unhappy passengers, who had, for instance, had their luggage lost.
The researchers then categorized the tapes into two different groups:
• One set of videotapes depicted customer service representatives apologizing throughout the customer interaction. They also showed the representative smiling and being cheerful throughout the interaction.
• The other set showed the representatives apologizing once or twice, but that was all. Further, smiling and cheerfulness was replaced with a more serious, problem-solving attitude.
Here is what the study uncovered:
• The representatives that expressed a great deal of empathy and tried to remain cheerful, did a poor job of satisfying the passengers. In fact, it backfired. Interviewed later, passengers indicated they did not believe the representative would promptly rectify the issue.
• The second group did far better. These representatives focused on problem-solving and looking for solutions. Passengers said they felt confident their situation would be resolved.
So how can cleaning contractors and jansan distributors use this study to improve their own client and customer relations?
According to Michael Wilson, vice president of marketing for AFFLINK, a leading sales, and marketing organization for the distribution industry, among them are the following:
• When dealing with complaints, apologize at the beginning of the conversation, and that is all. “The researchers suggest this should take place in the first seven seconds of the interaction.”
• Limit smiling and cheerfulness. Instead, move quickly into problem-solving.
“The researchers also suggest bringing the customer into the problem-solving process,” adds Wilson. “This ‘team approach’ also helps the customer feel their issue will be addressed promptly.”
*“Frontline Problem-Solving Interactions: A Dynamic Analysis of Verbal and Nonverbal Cues,” by Detelina Marinova, et.al. Harvard Business Review, January-February 2018.
Editors please note: The word “AFFLINK” is always capitalized.
Connecting more than 200 manufacturers of Facility Maintenance, Packaging, Safety, Office and Industrial Supply solutions with over 300 independent distribution experts, AFFLINK is, just as its name suggests – that critical link offering clients innovative products, market expertise, and improved profitability, all of which is fueled by our leading-edge information technology. For more info, visit: http://www.afflink.com/
Wilson, vice president of marketing
1400 AFFLINK Place
Tuscaloosa, AL 35406
Media Contact: Robert Kravitz