In this day and age, people and customers are often in a hurry to conduct their business and move on. How can you interact with a customer who is in a hurry in a way that reflects that you understand the customer’s need for speed?
● Voice Tone—Emphatic (1)
● Assurances of Results (2)
Here's An Example
A customer arrives at an airline counter to check in for her flight and is clearly flustered, out of breath, and in a hurry.
Customer: Oh lord, I don’t want to miss my flight, my car broke down, and oh goodness ....
Employee: We’ll get you on your flight. (2) [She looks at the ticket the customer presents.] No problem. You still have 15 minutes to get to the gate (1, 2). Bags to check? (1)
Customer: Just the one.
Employee: Seat preference, aisle or window? (1)
Since the customer is clearly flustered, the employee first reassures the customer that she won’t miss her flight in (2). In addition to that simple reassurance, the employee informs the customer that she still has 15 minutes to get to the gate. That’s reassuring information.
What really works well here is the use of a tone of voice that matches the situation. The employee uses a very firm, emphatic tone of voice (1), but also speaks more quickly than normal and in shorter sentences than she would with someone who is not feeling so time-pressured. Why? By speaking in a way that conveys urgency, she is communicating to the customer that she understands the customer’s situation and is modifying her behavior to address the customer’s need.
The above is a modified version of content that appears in: Perfect Phrases For Customer Service (McGraw-Hill)