Friday, August 21, 2009

Clients in Crisis

In most cases, our clients/customers come to me in a relatively calm state and in response we react to them in our usual business manner. But what needs to shift if your client is in crisis mode? In those instances, here's what your client needs from you:

~They need you to acknowledge that they are in crisis. They want to know that you know. This is not the time for "can you hang on a second?" or "do you want some coffee?”

~They need to be your only priority until the crisis has passed. This isn't the time to take another call or put them off until the next morning. They need you now.

~They need reassurance. They want you to tell them you're going to be at their side until it's over. This isn't the time to sugar coat things or say it's going to be okay if it isn't. They want to know they won't be going it alone.

~They need empathy. If a client is in crisis, they're most likely angry, scared, worried, sad or in pain. They want you to recognize that emotion in them and help them get it under control.

~They want to see action. That's the most reassuring element of all. They want to know you are doing something to get them out of their crisis.

Dealing with a client who is in a crisis is usually not pretty. They're in full panic mode. But, if you can stay with them and get them through the crisis - you've earned a loyal client who will come to you in confidence knowing you've seen them at their worst.

How have you dealt with clients in this frame of mind?

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