CUSTOMER MANAGEMENT 4/10/2012 MCAA SPRING MEETING APRIL 12, 2012 COURT ETIQUETTE ETHICS CUSTOMER MANAGEMENT GENERALLY SPEAKING

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1 MCAA SPRING MEETING APRIL 12, 2012 COURT ETIQUETTE ETHICS CUSTOMER MANAGEMENT CUSTOMER MANAGEMENT GENERALLY SPEAKING THE BEST WAY TO MANAGE OUR TYPE OF CUSTOMERS IS TO UNDERSTAND THEY ARE NOT HAPPY BEFORE THEY EVER ENTER THE COURTHOUSE! 1

2 SO, WHAT IS A CUSTOMER, IN A NORMAL SETTING, AND IN A COURTHOUSE SETTING? DEFINITION OF A CUSTOMER SOMEONE WHO PAYS FOR GOODS OR SERVICES So, what are our customers thinking of? Points on their driving record Having a Criminal record Insurance premium increasing and usually what they see as wasted money STRIKE ONE ONE WHO REGULARLY OR REPEATEDLY MAKES PURCHASES Are our customers making a purchase? Are they receiving anything other than a receipt for monies paid? Although some may be our regulars they are not making a purchase from us STRIKE TWO 2

3 A PERSON WITH WHOM A BUSINESS HAS DEALINGS The court is not perceived as a business The court is seen as a government office More times than not, we are the enemy and treated as if we were the one who cited or arrested them, a family member or friend STRIKE THREE DEFINITION OF SERVICE Work done by one person or group that benefits another An act of help or assistance Employment in or work for another HOW YOU COMMUNICATE IS THE KEY TO SERVING COURT CUSTOMERS Some people have a talent of interpersonal communication. Others have to develop their skills. The number one basic skill to providing service in our profession is to just treat others the way you would like to be treated. A difficult task at times, but you can succeed if you learn a few simple rules. 3

4 SIMPLE RULES FOR COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS Smile and speak to the customer. Good morning, how may I help you? Be courteous Make eye contact while talking to your customer Stay focused on what they are saying, not on the person who is speaking Pay close attention. Don t get distracted. Ask questions of the customer before you answer to make sure you fully understand their question Answer their questions to the best of your ability. Don t cut them short. If you need to refer them to someone else for assistance, explain why. There is nothing wrong with saying you are not qualified to answer their question Be understanding. Remember, this may be the first time this person has ever encountered this type of problem. Many people can be frightened of the legal process and ramifications 4

5 Be specific when you answer their questions Always ask the customer, before they exit, if there is anything else I can help you with. WHAT TO DO WHEN IT GOES DOWNHILL Be direct and specific BE ASSERTIVE Keep conversation short and to the point Remain calm even when the customer gets excited Don t let it show if you become irritated Keep your voice at a normal tone Don t frown or roll your eyes 5

6 WATCH THE BODY LANGUAGE **YOURS AND THEIRS** FACIAL EXPRESSIONS Don t frown Avoid Staring Control those eye brows POSITION AND GESTURES Stand up straight. Look attentive No leaning or propping against an object. Shows you are not really interested Look them in the eye. Glancing around the room can be annoying Keep position of hands and arms in a relaxed position. Don t place your hands on your hips or fold your arms against you. Definite body language statement of I could care less what you are saying 6

7 TWELVE PRINCIPLES OF DEFUSING A HOSTILE CUSTOMER 1. Deal with their feelings first Try to be understanding of how they feel. 2. Avoid coming across as bureaucratic Remember, you are viewed as the government by the position you hold. 3. Each situation is different Don t try to solve each situation the same way. Get the facts first 4. Strive to control the interaction Remain calm. Listen more than talk 5. Begin defusing early. Don t let their bad behavior become yours. Take a deep breath and continue on 6. Be assertive, not aggressive Introduce yourself. Speak with confidence, that you not only can help them, but will 7. Stay focused Don t let their bad behavior get you off track of the problem they have 8. Don t supply them with ammunition Don t use terms like I m just following the policy or I just work here 9. Don t ask questions you don t want to hear answers to Don t delve into their personal lives or criticize them. Your role is to assist them with their questions or problem and nothing more 10. Avoid inadvertent errors Make sure the information you give is accurate. There is nothing worse than having to back peddle with customer 11. Avoid high risk, high self-gain behavior Don t lower yourself to the customers standards. It may make you feel better for the moment, but it is not acceptable behavior under any circumstance. 7

8 12. If you lose control of yourself, you lose. Period. Don t become combative with the customer. Trading insults or talking in a sarcastic manner can result in negative consequences for you IT AIN T PERSONAL Remember that while the angry customers behavior is directed at you, the real source of the anger is elsewhere. He will see you as an employee of an organization that is perceived as cold, unfeeling, and unhelpful. Since they can t scream and yell at your organization, they direct the anger towards you. They don t just want their problem solved. When a hostile customer doesn t get what they are hoping for, they get to a point where the problem becomes secondary. They do want their problem taken care of, but after a point, they get so frustrated and angry they are unwilling to work positively to get what they started out wanting. Very angry customers want to vent their anger, they want to be heard and they want to be acknowledged. Don t try to rush them, you will likely make them angrier and more abusive if you do. 8

9 WHAT CAN YOU DO? 1. Observe your customers as they approach. Irritated or upset customers will show tell-tale signs before they ever speak. Clues to look for are hunched shoulders, clenched fists, red face, fidgeting, restless and avoidance of eye contact. Watch for these signs so they don t surprise you. Hostile situations get out of hand because employees react too quickly to hostile behavior because they didn t anticipate it. Be prepared, tell yourself you CAN control the situation and keep yourself under control. 2. When in contact with a hostile customer, present yourself in as un-bureaucratic a way as possible. Remember, their anger could really be aimed at your organization. If they perceive you as an object, they will be more likely to be abusive. 3. If you smile and speak to them in a friendly manner, they will be more likely to see you as a human being who is doing the best you can to assist them, allowing them to become less aggressive. 9

10 QUESTIONS? 10

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