Kulula and Comair have been forced to suspend operations by the Civil Aviation Authority over the previous few days. Many customers were stranded at various airports because of this, and many expressed their irritation, anger, and despair.

With each passing minute of boarding time, it became more evident that the flight would not be departing on time. The large group of passengers awaiting their turn at the gate started to get restless. It was becoming tense by the time the first statement was made, resigned and frustrated passengers had a million and one questions to ask.

As the situation becomes more and more tense, the customer care representative finds it more difficult to maintain control of the customers. Here is why.

In any service delivery scenario, three factors come into play:

  1. Beliefs and expectations.
  2. Logistical considerations.
  3. Emotional state.

When it comes to setting expectations and conveying logistics, we do a pretty good job in business. We correctly explain that you have gotten what you have paid for and that you will get it when, where, and how you have requested.

However, we struggle when it comes to dealing with the third and possibly most essential element, our customers’ emotions.

Fear is a strong emotion that can be countered by no amount of explanation, reason, or reasoning, which is why we must teach ourselves to be empathic.

This is difficult because, whereas the person dealing with the problem may encounter it three times a week, the consumer only feels it vividly today, and as a result, her attitude and worldview seem to be irrational to others.

In each customer service issue, ask yourself the following questions:

“How would I be feeling if this were me?”
“How would I be reacting right now?”
“What would I be saying and doing?”

You could discover that you’re more closer to your consumers than you first thought.

The Lora Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is providing a brief online course on Customer Care commencing on April 4, 2022. Here is a link where you may read more about the program and apply online: Customer Care Short Course.

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