What a G.R.E.A.T. Customer Support Response Looks Like
A customer complaint is an investment in your company. Knowing how to flip their negative emotional experience into a positive one can often turn a complainer into a promoter. This process is simple, repeatable, highly effective, and is used by many of the world’s leading companies. We simply made a G.R.E.A.T. acronym for it.
Some of the pioneers in high level customer support strategy are what we call the H.A.S. companies. Hubspot, Asana, and Slack. They are leading the way in producing customer experience based support in the technology sectorand have created a large following of loyal customer promoters (like us). Like all companies, the H.A.S. companies get their share of customer complaints, but how they handle them creates a high level of client satisfaction which converts detractors into brand evangelists. Here are the steps to creating a G.R.E.A.T. customer response to turn a complaint into a reason to love your company.
The first step in resolving an issue with a client is to greet them. This creates a personable connection to them which sets the stage for smoother communication. State their name and thank them for sharing their issue with you. When you embrace the idea that a customer complaint is an investment in your company, it is much easier to appreciate a complaint. They have had a negative emotional experience which means they are emotionally invested. When they take the time to share it with you, they are giving you the opportunity to transform them into someone who will share their newly updated experience with others.
It is important to restate their IQR (issue, question, request), or whatever it is that they want addressed, back to them. By restating it in your own words, you remove any possibility of false assumptions and you inform them that they are important enough to have their perspective acknowledged. In a world where most are seeking acknowledgment and validation, this is an excellent way to generate a strong connection between you and the client.
Also, when you restate their position, if you happen to have misunderstood what the purpose of their reaching out to you was, they will not take offense to your response which would likely have missed the reason they contacted you for. This will prevent the stacking of issues which we have found happens often in complaint responses.
Express the value you see in their IQR. When you, not only restate their IQR, but also state the value you see in it, you are telling them that they have value as a person. You are contextualizing beyond the issue. It places you in their shoes to see things from their perspective. This orienting into the customer’s shoes allows them to let go of their perspective in order to see yours, which really is the golden rule. This now makes the 3rd time they have felt important to you and no matter what becomes of their support claim, you will have already dissipated their negative emotion towards the business. You haven’t quite flipped the emotion, but moving from negative to neutral is a positive direction and will help to strengthen the bond even more.
Now, obviously, you will want to address the IQR, but now you have made a connection to them first. It is important to move through the previous steps to reset the emotional charge or they might not even be in a mood or state to appreciate your response. This is especially true if you are unable to fulfill their desired outcome. If you can fulfill it, you are now starting in a neutral place and can move it into a positive place. If you can’t, at least you aren’t locked in the negative.
After addressing their IQR, give them the pro-tips. Sometimes you can’t fulfill their desired outcome, but if you have tips that will help them, you may give them an alternative that works. This can be just as good as directly satisfying them, maybe even better. It shows that you care, that you are an expert, and that you are resolved to serve them; which really is the purpose of a service-based business. You will find that sharing tips with your customers will give them a reason to be delighted. It is this delight that produces the positive emotion.
The G.R.E.A.T. customer response methodology is a simple, repeatable, and effective way to convert a complaint into praise and a critic into a brand evangelist. You have taken their emotional investment in your company and crafted a high quality customer experience that will likely result in more repeat visits from them and their circle of influence. Next time your business is faced with an upset client. Use the G.R.E.A.T. methodology as a part of your customer experience strategy to turn that liability into an asset.