In a perfect world, all of your customers are pleased with your community and their experience with your team and services. However, the reality is negative experiences happen and difficult customers exist. No matter how hard you try to prevent it!
Leasing teams typically have the first opportunity to diffuse a negative experience. You all are an intricate part of the customer experience and your roles are extremely important. When residents are testing you, it is important to follow several guidelines to create a better outcome.
Listen carefully. When customers are upset, they first want to be heard. Listen to your customer closely and carefully. Avoid interrupting them, multi-tasking, or making unpleasant faces while they are explaining their situation to you. The more they feel that you know and understand what has happened, the faster they will begin to relax and let you take the next necessary steps.
Don’t be confrontational. Customers can be unrealistic and difficult and that can cause frustration. Be careful to keep your cool and choose your words carefully so that you don’t come across as being confrontational. If the conversation escalates, get assistance from a supervisor. Remember, 9 times out of 10 the customer is not personally upset with you.
Be honest. Mistakes happen. Be honest with your customer and admit when a mistake has been made regardless of whom made the mistake. You can then highlight your company’s strengths by communicating to them that this situation is not typical and promise to do better.
Never say no. The customer has come to you with a problem and they are expecting empathy and a solution from you. And even though customers can have unrealistic requests, never tell them no. Tell them that you will look into their request and that you will get back in touch with them promptly with options.
End the conversation on the right note. Wrapping up a heated discussion can be a challenge. Give them a brief overview on what you have gathered from your conversation. Be sure to apologize once more and provide a solution or, if you don’t have a solution at that time, give them a time that you will follow up with them. Lastly, thank the person for their time, tell them you will be in touch very soon, and smile. Genuine smiles make all the difference!
One final tip, treat every upset resident individually and try to truly understand why this specific customer is unhappy. By turning a negative experience into a positive experience, you will receive benefits beyond just changing the mind of one customer. It will improve your entire reputation.