Can You Handle This, Or Is Time To Call The Boss?

Do you ever look at your boss or supervisor as your messiah when you feel in over your head with a customer issue? It’s like they have all the answers and frankly, perhaps she should be the one dealing with this issue instead of you. Some salespeople just love to tag in their boss when they are in an uncomfortable situation so much so that it becomes the default action. Difficult customer? Get the boss. She doesn’t mind… or does she? Did you ever stop to wonder if she has better things to do than to keep putting out these fires? Or what if the customer insists on speaking to the boss? Is this really the best way to deal with this situation? 

 

If you’re the boss and you always feel like you are constantly fighting fires, then that’s a strong sign that there is an arsonist nearby. I understand that sometimes the salesperson feels in over his head, exhausted all the options and hit a wall. Or perhaps the customer simply insists on speaking with someone who is higher up. However, keep in mind that it is almost always better for the salesperson to address the issue because it is usually more cost-effective (compare the salesperson’s salary to the boss’s for instance), it saves the customer time and eliminates steps in resolving the customer’s issue by having fewer people handle the situation. Not only that, many times you can create a better customer experience this way. So, try these 5 steps the next time a customer asks to speak to the boss and you decide to transfer their call. 

 

  1. Avoid immediate transfer if possible – Don’t give up so easily. I’m not suggesting that you become a barrier for the customer, but oftentimes there is a chance that we can get just as good of results for the customer as the boss. 
  2. Ask if you can assist – Sometimes customers are not aware that you can be just as effective as your boss. Let them know that you have the ability to help.
  3. Ask for permission to handle the issue – Asking someone for permission can be a mild confrontation. It’s a direct question with a yes or no answer. Most people instinctively will give you that permission and the fact that you asked may help to ease whatever concerns them.
  4. Offer assurance– Let them know if you can handle the situation, they may get what they want and need faster. Oftentimes the boss isn’t available immediately or there are long delays in her response. Most customers will opt for the shorter route if they believe it will achieve what they want. 
  5. Always ask twice – Don’t give up the first time a customer tells you ‘no’. Ask at least twice to handle their situation. They will often come around by the second time you ask. If they still say ‘no’ after all of this, then you can transfer them to your boss knowing that you did the best you could. 

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