Understanding Customer's Problem


As someone responsible for handling customers, you should know when to listen and when to speak. This will enable you to understand the problem, the first step in solving any problem.

Meeting Basic Needs

These are the basic steps in understanding a customer’s problems −

  • Listen patiently to what the customer has to say

  • Write down all that is being said

  • Don’t interrupt if you have a query; note it down

  • Once the customer has finished narrating his problem, summarize your understanding from your notes

  • Add to the notes you have taken if the customer has anything more or different to say

After understanding the problem, you should immediately decide whether you will be able to solve the problem or need to escalate. Whatever your conclusion, assure the customer politely and convincingly that his problem will be solved.

Thinking Out of the Box

Having a problem-solving attitude is essential for a customer service associate. As most customers are inarticulate, out-of-the-box thinking is crucial to solve the problems. Also, even after the problem has been defined, it is not necessary that it has a straightforward solution. You may have to approach the problem from a unique way that has not been tried earlier.

Here are some scenarios where you may need to be innovative to offer a solution −

  • Not covered specifically in company or department guideline

  • Information needs to be gathered from another department

  • Customer is pushy and wants you to solve immediately

  • Customer has already made complaints that were not resolved

Thinking Out

Going the Extra Mile

Every customer service department has a set of laid down norms, usually written. These norms or rules are there to −

  • Define a team member’s responsibilities

  • Establish protocols for inter-departmental communication

  • Outline what a team member is not required to do

These guidelines are for safeguarding your professional interests. However, no one will stop you from going an extra mile to help a customer. In fact, as the face of your organization, you should do everything in your power to solve a customer’s problems. Even if it means doing something you are not strictly required to do.

A satisfied customer is the best publicity any organization can have. Plus, a satisfied customer will become loyal too, buying your products every time a need arises rather than look for other options.

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