Managing Customer Expectations

Posted on 03/24/2016 in Customer Service & Support

Here are three related and practical tips that can help you to deal with customers who are making unrealistic expectations and demands.

1. Gather information from the customer but don’t commit or agree to the unrealistic expectation. For example, you might say something like, “This is something that we normally don’t do. Let me discuss with our technical service department (or management or another function), and then I will get back to you.” Make sure that you provide a realistic time frame for getting back to the customer, otherwise they will become unhappy.

2. Offer options and alternatives rather than just say no. Try to avoid simply saying no because it leaves the customer with no positive outcome. Say something like, “Here is something that we can do instead for you.”

3. Use the “good cop, bad cop” principle. The term “good cop, bad cop” refers to a two-person technique where one person in your organization is viewed as the positive person while a second person is the bearer of bad news. If the customer has to be told that your company cannot meet their expectation, discuss with your manager if another person may be better suited to deliver that message so that you can preserve the relationship. In other words, you remain as the “good cop” so that you don’t damage your relationship with the customer but someone else in your company acts as the “bad cop.”

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