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Unhappy customers are part of running a business, though definitely an unpleasant part that most of us want to avoid. 

Avoiding the angry customer won’t solve the problem, however. 

Here is a step-by-step guide to dealing with an unhappy, even irate customer without losing your cool… or losing the customer. 


Step 1: Stop arguing. 

Don’t engage in the conflict. 

When people get angry, they want to fight. If they can’t fight physically, they’ll often settle for a vehement verbal sparring match. 

You can’t win in this situation with your customer. Even if you “own” the argument, yell louder, and make better points, you’ve only made your customer more unhappy. 

So don’t let your ego get in the midst of a pointless argument. Take a deep breath. Winning an argument does not win you a customer. 

Step 2: Remind yourself of the goal. 

The goal isn’t to win the argument. 
The goal isn’t to save as much money as possible. 
The goal isn’t to get the customer out of the door as quickly as possible. 

The goal is to do whatever you can to make sure that your customer gets what he or she needs. 

That doesn’t mean you have to give in to unreasonable demands, break company policy, or ignore common sense in order to make your customer happy. 

It does mean that your job is to figure out what, in this particular situation, your customer is really looking for. 

Once you’ve figured that out, you can look at your options for how to meet that need. 

Step 3: Acknowledge your customer’s pain. 

Do not belittle their frustration. 
Do not say things like, “Well, I don’t know why you’re so upset,” or “That’s not really a big deal.” 

For your customer, this is a big deal. When you invalidate their frustration, you simply cause more of it to bubble up. 

Acknowledge that they have a right to be upset even if you think they are overreact. Let them know that you hear their frustration. 

Step 4: Listen without defense. 

It’s human nature to defend ourselves against accusations. 

Fight against this urge. 

Let your customer tell her story without interruption. Don’t make excuses, even if they are valid. 

Don’t invent reasons. Don’t give reasons that are perfectly true and good. Don’t tell your side of the story at all. 

Just listen, without complaint or defense or excuse, and - if possible - with a sympathetic expression on your face. 

Step 5: Repeat the issue back. 

Once you’ve understood the entire situation, repeat what you see as the main issue. 
“You didn’t receive the product you ordered and then you couldn’t get a refund.” 
“Our employee was rude to you and didn’t help you find what you needed.” 
“The product didn’t match up with what you thought it would be.” 
“You lost time because of technical failure on our part.” 

Be as accurate as you can and rephrase as needed until your customer agrees with your statement of the issue. 

Step 6: Reassure. 

It’s a sad truth that customers often approach customer service providers expecting a battle. Past experience has trained them to expect such. 

Reassure your customer that you are not here to fight them but to help them. This reassurance can defuse tension and remind your customer that you are here to serve them. 

Step 7: Ask for a solution. 

This is a brilliant move if you can master it, and you can. 

All you have to do is ask this question: 
“What would be the best thing I can do to make this right for you?” 

Instead of presenting a bunch of options which the customer can shoot down, you’re asking for help. 

For your customers’ help. 

Let them rattle on for a bit, if needed, but bring that question back until you get an answer to it. 
“What will it take to make you happy?” 
“What would you like me to do to fix this?” 
“How can I make this better?” 

Step 8: Offer options. 

Once they’ve told you what they think would be a good solution, turn that into an option or two that you are willing and able to provide. 

For example, a customer might demand a full refund on something you simply can’t provide a refund on; so respond with an acknowledgement and then an option. 

“I wish I could give you exactly what you want - a full refund - but I can’t. Here is another option: a store credit for XYZ amount.” 

Step 9: Repeat steps 7 and 8 until you agree on a solution. 

You might have to go through these steps a few time. Be patient. 

Step 10: Follow through and follow up. 

As quickly and courteously and thoroughly as possible, make good on what you’ve agreed to do. 

Then follow up, some time in the future, with a phone call, email, or letter to your customer. This is truly “going the extra mile”; if you take the time to do so, however, you can turn an angry customer into a satisfied one. 

Maintain your calm, walk through these steps, and you can turn angry customers into your company’s biggest promoters. 

Bitrix24 is a complete suite of social collaboration, communication and management tools for organizations. Use promocode TIP10 when registering your free Bitrix24 account to get extra 10GB. 


See also: 

 

Free business chat software

Sales agent management system

Free sales agent software

Free sales software

Free business messaging software

Free sales tracking software

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PickyDomains - World’s first risk free naming service 

 

Erica Dhawan is a globally recognized leadership expert, keynote speaker and strategiest teaching companies and business leaders creative actions to drive elite performance, improve innovation across generations and cultures, capitalize on the expertise of Gen Y talent and prepare the global workforce for the future.

 

 

 

 

People are familiar with the concept of emotional intelligence. What is connectional intelligence? Why did you get interested in the subject? 

 

The world is changing. Everyone is connected today through social media, mobile devices and networks. But how do we leverage those resources? My new book, Get Big Things Done, co-authored by Saj-nicole Joni, revolutionizes the way we harness that connectedness to help us achieve greater impact than ever before. This is through what we call connectional intelligence - the ability to combine knowledge, ambition and human capital, forging connections on a global scale that create unprecedented value and meaning.

 

As a child of first generation immigrants, my goal was to check the boxes of success. I got a shiny degree from an Ivy League and marched into a glamorous job on wall street. Like every other millennial I worked incredibly hard. In the 2008 recession, I witnessed firsthand the disillusionment, confusion and burnout of my generation. I saw how our dreams and passions were being squashed everyday when we went into work. After the financial collapse, I switched gears entirely to try to find more meaning in my work and better understand how my generation could leverage our passion and purpose and the resources available to us. What I found was that whether at an NGO or at a private equity firm, many of the struggles were similar. People were trying to figure out how to work intentionally and cut through the noise of all our social, mobile and digital technology. This led to our research in connectional intelligence to answer the question, in today’s connected world, why do some people get big things done and others do not?

 

Your book is called Get Big Things Done. What are big things that businesses aren’t doing but really should be? 

 

A lot of how we measure success in the digital world is about quantity. How many Facebook likes? How many clicks? how many LinkedIn connections? This book shifts the focus from quantity to quality.

 

The other shift in our narrative is that simply building a network doesn’t lead to measurable change. The key is how you use that network. Creating something new and innovative and that actually changes people’s lives requires that we rethink how we use our networks and that we employ our resources and data in the smartest way. Connectional intelligence describes this skill that 21st century innovators have and that we all need to develop to maximize the potential of all of our connections and put them to significant use.

 

There is a lot of advice on making new connections. Are there are rules of thumbs when you should break existing connections or order to avoid ‘connection overload’? 

 

If you find yourself collecting a business card like a hundred others that you already have, just for the sake of a new LinkedIn contact, that may be leading you to feel connection overload. Again, look for quality over quantity. Open yourself up to new people and ideas when looking for connection. This means connecting with people of different cultures, different backgrounds, in different disciplines and of different ages. Often we like to play it safe and stick to our industry, but connectional intelligence is all about bridging generations and bridging skill sets. We all have something to teach each other and the idea that might revolutionize your normal way of operating is probably not going to come from someone who has exactly the same lifestyle as you. So look at if the connections brings value to your life and vice versa.

 

What are some simple things that people can do to improve their connectional intelligence? 

 

First, spend ten minutes day engaging with a new media source. If you always read The New York Times, spend ten minutes reading a niche publication like a financial magazine or even a gaming magazine. Follow a new hashtag on Twitter for a week or two. The point is to get out of your routine. The ideas we have are greatly influenced by the media we consume and if you want to start thinking creatively, you need to infuse your day with content that you might not have imagined would be relevant to you.

 

Another way is to explore some of the new apps like Treatings and Coffeeme - both are like LinkedIn meets Tinder - to meet professionals in other industries. Be courageous and take a chance going to coffee with someone who might think differently than you do.

 

What tools (as in software, services or gadgets) in your view are the best for staying connected and which ones don’t perform so well? 

 

I love Twitter because its an amazing tool of discovery of new interests and ideas. I also like a lot of the new team management tools like Slack and Asana. They are extremely helpful when collaborating.

 

I’m not sure I can make a blanket statement about tools that don’t perform well because it all depends on how people use them. One challenging tool has been Yammer. While it is an interesting knowledge sharing tool internally for companies, it naturally does not fit the normal way of working and communicating for many of today’s employees.

 

Thank you for the interview.

 

Bitrix24 is a complete suite of social collaboration, communication and management tools for organizations. Use promocode TIP10 when registering your free Bitrix24 account to get extra 10GB. 

See also:

 

How to Pull Your Team Together After a Crisis

Self hosted Dropbox server

Know When to Grow with These 5 Signs Its Time to Expand

Where to get free employee engagement software

5 Practical Ideas for Helping Remote Staff Stay Connected

Small Business Savings: 8 Ways to Cut Costs Now

How to Help Your Team Se t and Reach Good Goals

What’s best free CRM ?

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PickyDomains - World’s first risk free naming service 

 

The main problem of conducting business from home is isolation, broken daily routine and lack of motivation. Here are some tips you can use to conduct your business efficiently.

 

 

1. Choose tools for work. It’s the first and foremost thing you have to do. Everything will do – from Excel sheets to complex CRM systems – just make sure you have all the information at hand and don’t forget to update it.

 

The latest trend is all-in-one collaboration workspaces - Bitrix24 is free and particular popular. Besides Bitrix24, there are, for example, MangoApps, Freedcamp and some other. They substitute multiple tools like Trello or Asana for project management, Slack or Yammer for inner social communication, Dropbox for sharing files, Skype for making calls and provide CRM for maintaining client database.

 

2. Choose a special workplace at home. You should draw clear line between work and home so that to be able to focus on business. It’ll be good also to change into work clothes.

 

3. Make more calls. Seriously, you won’t even notice how you become less and less social, especially if you live alone. If you have an alternative: to call or to write a letter, it’s better to make a call (with a written follow-up, of course).

 

4. Write a plan and always stick to it. Better print it out and have before your eyes. You can use the method of Mark Foster from his book “Do It Tomorrow”: plan all your doings and the approximate required time for them the previous day. If something unplanned turns up, put it off till the next day. Thus, by the end of the day you’ll already have a plan for tomorrow. This will help you to keep yourself together.

 

5. Track the time you devote to work. You can use Pomodoro timer technique (there are plenty of apps for each smartphone platform) when work process is split into short 25-minute pieces. Or just use your kitchen timer. Always start working the same time and stop working by the end of the day.

 

Source - Free Tools For Running Your Business From Home

 

See also

 

Free office management software

Free CRM Tools

Best QuickBase alternative 

What is social HR ? 

Sage CRM vs (Sage CRM competitors)

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PickyDomains - World’s first risk free naming service 


In every business there comes a moment when just sharing links to files on Dropbox becomes somewhat impractical. The most self-evident solution is to upgrade to Dropbox for Business. But remember – only fools rush in. So take a pause and before paying $15 for each team member every month (that’s a whooping $1800/yr for 10 employee company) and consider these free alternatives.


Bitrix24


Free storage:  5 GB


Bitrix24 is more of an overall business solution. Using it only for file storage and sharing is like boiling eggs on a volcano. 


The free plan is ideal for small businesses with 12 or fewer employees (compare: Dropbox for 12 employees would cost $180 per month).


Bitrix24 has a convenient file access system: all the employees can be divided into groups and receive files according to their group affiliation and access level. Besides, there’s a document approval system, so that business workflows become more transparent. 


Documents can be created using desktop applications (MS office) or cloud apps (Google Docs, MS Office Web App). In document search is quite simple. 


Besides, you can plan you work, assign tasks, manage clients, exchange messages, do video conferences – nowadays it is called by a buzzword “unified communications”.  


Even the free plan offers 2-step verification with high level of security.

Google Drive


Free storage: 15 GB


Google Drive offers much space, but you should keep in mind that it’s shared between Drive, Gmail and Google+ photos. 


You can give access to folders and files and give different rights (can view, can edit, etc.) to your colleagues using their emails.


Few people know that the service also has a desktop client which allows to drag-and-drop files and synchronize them. And a set of mobile apps makes collaboration easy wherever you are.

 

SpiderOak


Free storage: 2GB


SpiderOak might not offer much of a disk space, but it’s great for its security. It is known for its “zero-knowledge” privacy policy which means all the files are encrypted before they are uploaded, and the service has no access to encryption keys.


SpiderOak staff can’t even retrieve metadata such as the names or sizes of files; instead, they see sequentially numbered containers of encrypted data. Perhaps, the only risk is that you forget your password: it is also encrypted, so in this case you’ll lose access to all your data.


The service also has a desktop client which allows to upload, store and access documents.


Source - Best Free Dropbox For Business Alternatives

 

See also:

 

Free Business Management Software

Free Google Wave alternative

Free CRM for consultants and consulting firms

Best free project management software

Free Salesforce alternatives

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PickyDomains - World’s first risk free naming service 

It might be a merger, a buy-out, company-wide restructuring, a round of layoffs, or an industry-wide economic plummet that’s left your team reeling. Or perhaps it’s something on a smaller scale: an unexpected firing or resignation, the loss of a key client, or a project that exploded in everyone’s faces. 

Whatever the crisis, you’ve survived it, but now you’ve got a team of war-weary, discouraged team members looking to you. 

Here’s how you can help your team pull together again. 


Don’t Ignore the Crisis 

One of the worst things you could do as team leader is simply act as if nothing has happened. 

Unfortunately, team leaders who are uncomfortable with conflict or unsure of how to talk about a crisis may take this route. What happens, however, is that your team members feel betrayed and abandoned. By ignoring the effects of the crisis or acting as if nothing has happened, you’re sending a clear message: Deal with this yourself. You’re on your own. 

That’s not the message you want to send, of course. 

Instead, talk through what happened. You do need to exercise leadership: don’t allow a negativity fest, a big round of poor-me stories, a finger-pointing session, or any sort of personal attack. 

Honestly recap what happened. Acknowledge the crisis and how it has affected the team: “We’ve just endured a round of layoffs that were extremely stressful for everyone, and we’ve lost three team members. We’re feeling skittish and sad, we miss our team members, we don’t know how we’re going to do our job without them, and we’re wary of how things will work going forward.” 

Get Input from Your Team 

Give your team time to offer their own insights and opinions. 

Perhaps you’re most worried about how your smaller team will handle a workload, while your team members are paralyzed with fear over losing their own positions. Talking about the crisis will help you to deal with unnecessary fears or anxieties and note which major issues need fresh solutions. 

Ask for insight, if appropriate, into why the crisis occurred in the first place. If your team missed an important deadline that jeopardized the entire company’s operations, now is the time to talk about why it happened and how you, as a team, can prevent it from happening in the future. 

As the team leader, don’t shy away from responsibility, even if much of the situation was out of your control. Own the responsibility, and don’t tolerate blaming and attacking from team members. 

Develop a Plan of Action 

Move your team’s attention to how you will move forward from this point. 

Start with encouragement. You don’t have to have the answers, but you can assure your team that you’ll work together to figure things out. 

Avoid the temptation to hand the responsibility off to the team and expect them to come up with all the ideas. Have some practical ideas of your own to offer. Share a few legitimate steps forward. 

Let them give input as well. From the combined ideas, work with your team to form a plan of action that make the most sense for everyone involved. 

Keep Your Team Informed 

People feel insecure after a crisis, so keep communication flowing even more than usual. Knowledge will help your team members to feel informed and aware, which contributes to feeling secure. 

Send regular team emails apprising team members of changes, updates, and new information. Be available for phone conversations and casual chats in the hallway or on social media. Be present, visible, and available. Offer open times for one-on-one meetings to help individuals tackle new roles and responsibilities. 

Revisit the Core of the Team 

To reestablish unity and team identity, revisit the heart of your team. What is the team vision? What is the purpose of the team? What are the values that the team shares and uses to help guide decisions and projects? 

A crisis, no matter how small, shakes everyone up; your job is to help them find their foundation again. Remind your team of their purpose, their ideals, and the core methodology will help your team to function together even in new or changed situations. 

Bitrix24 is a free sales automation and sales team management software. Use promocode TIP10 when registering your free Bitrix24 account to get extra 10GB. 


Source - How to Pull Your Team Together After a Crisis

See also:


Free CRM for freelancers
Free online contact management
Professional Services Automation
Free Quotation And Invoice Software
Free ShootQ alternative
Free ThoughtFarmer alternative

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