Jeff Lind

When you’ve agreed to disagree with a customer:  Ask three questions

A successful resolution is possible

Unfortunately, customers don’t always see things the same way you do.  That can lead to disagreements about anything from their level of service to the type of product or service they expected.  Disagreements get in the way of good customer service.  Some customers are just hell-bent on disagreeing.  You can stop this counterproductive cycle.

Don’t give up

Try these questions the next time you run into opposing opinions from customers or co-workers:

  1. “Could you please explain your reason for opposing this idea?”

This question is good for two reasons:  You’ll get a better chance to consider the customer’s point of view.  And by taking the time to reiterate his or her objections, the customer can determine if they’re really valid or worth the effort.  You may be able to end the dispute at this point.

  1. “What comprises would you be willing to make?” This certainly puts the ball in the customer’s court.  Of course, you can’t ask the customer to be flexible if you aren’t willing to be also.  Make sure you know what comprises you can make before you ask this question.
  1. “Would you be willing to let us attempt our plan of action?” If you can’t reach an agreement, you might suggest you try your idea on an experimental basis.  That way, the customer’s pride isn’t lost and you should solve the situation regardless of what plan gets done.

In most circumstances you need to be willing to make comprises.  Customers truly appreciate the effort made to try and meet their needs and in most cases you can actually strengthen your relationship by doing so.