Difficult-Customer-Service-SituationsToday’s consumer is accustomed to a “no questions asked” return policy perpetuated by many of the big-box stores. However, musical instrument dealers tend to sell products that are highly technical in nature, protected by copyrights or rely on close, physical contact with the buyer. Each of these areas presents unique solutions and requires straightforward, commonsense customer service policies. For many music retailers, developing a solid customer service plan falls low on the priority list.

Customers have many shopping choices, and it’s paramount that you establish, enact and update your policies to ensure that your customers feel as though they are being treated fairly and want to keep buying from you. The key to training your staff to effectively deal with these situations is to return to the most basic level of real customer service: focusing on the customer. Although everyone says not to take it personally when a customer is upset, I suggest that you shift your perspective about service and make it personal. Start by asking yourself and your staff, “How many customers can we afford to lose today?” When your staff realizes how this will affect their income, they will want to take ownership.

No matter how complete your policies might be, it’s not uncommon to encounter difficult customer service situations, especially those that fall outside your current structure. Customer service is an intensely human activity and, as humans go, we’re all imperfect. As a result, it’s only natural that our customer service delivery will occasionally fall short. When your level of service fails to live up to your customer’s expectations, the results can be frustrating.
The following steps will help you and your staff master challenging customer service situations and provide tremendous results. Remember, service is more than just a word…it is a necessity!

Show real concern for the customer and the problem he or she has.

Although it’s only natural to react defensively when people are attacking your policies, make an extra effort to maintain your composure and present yourself as someone who wants to help with the problem.

Make a personal connection with the customer.

Make sure that you immediately get the person’s name and interject it strategically throughout your conversation. Everyone likes to hear his or her name, and it will provide you with a closer bond to the customer. Be careful to ensure that you have the correct pronunciation, and don’t overdo your usage.

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