Negotiations

Successful customer service employs seasoned negotiators. Customer service representatives negotiate terms and transactions all day long to come to an agreement or a settlement favorable to both the customer and the company. Negotiating can be a lot of fun, but it can also be difficult depending on the customer one customer service representative is dealing with. Generally speaking most customers understand the concept of bargaining and typically accept the terms.

A positive resolution involves an agreement to the policy. The customer must understand how returns work, for example. In order to return an item the customer must provide a receipt, it must be within a certain time frame, the original packaging must accompany the item, etc. After the customer agrees to the terms of the return, and starts to walk away with their head down, it’s time to smile and let the customer know that because his business is so important to the company you’ll be happy to make a one-time exception (in most cases the company makes one-time exceptions all day long).

In customer service, negotiating shouldn’t be hostile by any means. It’s not saving the world, just making or breaking a future sale. What’s your favorite negotiation technique? What’s your worst negotiating experience in customer service?

Footnote: This year I decided to go with the A-Z of Customer Service. I’ve complained too long that customer service isn’t what it should be. Tell me God doesn’t have a sense of humor. He put me in a position make a difference in what I think customer service is and should be. This month I will share with you what I’ve learned about successful customer service. Hope you enjoy the ride.

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