Customer service issues are inevitable in the convenience store business. Sometimes, customers have a legitimate complaint that requires your immediate attention. Other times, the issue may be minor or outside of your control entirely. No matter what the problem is, every unhappy customer deserves your attention. The LEAST problem solving technique ensures customers feel heard and, more importantly, appreciated.
Follow LEAST to Solve Customer Complaints
The acronym L-E-A-S-T can help you and your staff solve most any problem customers bring to you. Here are the steps:
L is for Listen: When a customer has a problem, the very first thing you need to do is listen to the concern. Pay attention and do not interrupt. Be patient and make sure you fully understand the customer’s concern.
E is for Empathize: Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. If you can’t relate to the exact issue, remember a time when you were disappointed. Stay engaged with the customer. If you seem bored or disinterested, it will make the customer feel ignored.
A is for Apologize: A genuine “I’m sorry” goes a long way toward diffusing an issue. Always tell the customer you’re sorry for their negative experience, even if you didn’t do anything wrong.
S is for Solve: This step is the most critical: offer a solution. Use your best judgment to find a solution that is acceptable to the customer. If you can’t solve the problem immediately, let them know you will speak to your manager. Don’t pass the buck or make any promises you can’t keep.
T is for Thank: Always thank the customer for both bringing the issue to your attention and for choosing your store in the first place. A customer who feels appreciated will be more likely to give you and your store a second chance.
Find Power in Prevention and Preparation
Being proactive can help you prevent many common customer complaints. For example, when you’re on top of staffing requirements, you can prevent problems related to being short-staffed. When you follow best practices for ordering and receiving, you can avoid problems related to out-of-stock items. When you properly train your convenience store staff, you can exceed customer expectations with great service. Even when you do everything you can to avoid customer service issues, they will still happen from time to time. Preparation is key. Employees who are trained to use the LEAST problem solving technique have an opportunity to create a more positive impression of your store than had the customer never had a problem at all.
LEAST Problem Solving Training
Our suite of online convenience store training includes a course specifically on implementing the LEAST problem solving strategy in a convenience store setting. Click here for a preview and to learn more.