Timing is everything. And while I fully endorse capitalizing on opportunities to sell a customer another product or service, particularly when you have them on the phone, or in the store, doing so when that customer is extremely annoyed with you is… how shall I put this… NOT SMART.
Take my recent encounter with a leading satellite provider, for example. In the short time I have been a customer, I have experienced three multiday service disruptions. Most recently during the season premiere of LOST (which made me even more unhappy). So let’s just say my sentiments toward this particular company are not favorable at the moment.
But that’s not something I can blame on the poor customer-service rep who happened to receive my troubleshooting call. It was all going fine at first. I explained the problem. She walked me through the steps to try and resolve it. She was cordial and professional. I was cordial back.
Until she chose that moment to try to sell me another product, no doubt following the script she was handed. A product that would protect me from having to pay more money if they had to come out to make the service actually work. I don’t think so! I’m actually quite proud of how I handled it, as I did not take it out on her, though I did tell her that she didn’t have a happy customer on her hands, and that trying to sell me something new was not well timed.
Her response? “I can appreciate that, ma’am. But don’t you think…” etc.
Moral of the story:
1) Train your front lines to think. Not just follow a script.
2) Make sure they understand that it’s way cheaper to keep a current customer than it is to acquire a new one.
3) Equip them to choose their moments wisely. Lest they meet up with a customer far less cordial than I.
— Ellen Repasky, Account Director