A bungled response to a crisis can have long-lasting repercussions. Remember the video of Dr. David Dao being dragged off a United Airlines plane? The company is still trying to live down its embarrassingly poor initial response.
Here are four key skills sales training programs say can help you weather the storm.
Being honest and upfront with your customers is key to maintaining their trust. So, don’t try to hide the problem or downplay its importance. Be upfront about what’s going on and what you’re doing to fix it.
Choose your words carefully. Avoid technical jargon or vague reassurances. Instead, use simple language to explain the situation. Also, be careful not to make promises you can’t keep as this will only damage your credibility.
When a crisis rears its ugly head, the first instinct is to go into problem-solving mode. However, jumping to solutions too quickly can often make the situation worse. For one, the customer may not feel heard, which could inflame the situation. You could also end up addressing the wrong problem entirely.
Speed is important in a crisis. However, having an accurate understanding of the problem is even more crucial. That’s why sales trainers emphasize the importance of active listening in their crisis management programs. This means taking the time to really understand what the customer is saying and what they need.
When things are going wrong, it’s easy to get frazzled and lose your cool. Unfortunately, this can lead to snap judgments and decisions you regret later. That’s why patience is a core skill when there’s a problem.
This doesn’t mean you should take your sweet time addressing the problem. It means slowing down and thinking things through before acting. A well-thought-out response is always better than a hasty one.
In any crisis, there will be unforeseen obstacles and bumps in the road. Sticking to a fixed response can keep you from being able to adapt and adjust as the situation changes. A lack of flexibility can also delay your response time and make the situation worse.
Flexibility doesn’t mean not having a plan. It’s about being open to making changes to your plan as needed. When you’re flexible, customers will see that you’re responsive and adaptable – two qualities that are essential in any crisis.
Finally, remember that customers are people too – and they’re likely feeling just as stressed out as you are. So, it’s important to show empathy and understanding. This doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything they say. It just means acknowledging their feelings.
For example, let’s say a customer is angry about a delay in their order. A simple “I’m sorry for the inconvenience” can keep the situation from escalating.
Crises are an unfortunate fact of business life. According to a report by PWC, 69% of businesses experience an average of three crises over five years. Sales training programs can help you turn a crisis into a positive customer experience.