Should You Always Agree With Customers?
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Should You Always Agree With Customers?

Every sales and support professional has to deal with customer complaints and objections. While you strive to provide a seamless support operation, it’s impossible to please everyone all the time. Customers are only human. It’s natural to complain. Especially in contact center interactions.

Is the customer always right? Of course not. But you should always agree with your customer.

Why?

As a customer service leader, you already know the value of empathy between your agents and your customers. Agreeing and reaffirming your customer’s decisions allows your agents to empathize, gain trust and build on positive interactions. Building rapport is vital.

Customer is Always Right

Counterintuitively, agreement is even more powerful for resolving negative situations. No matter the complaint, objection or request, you must always agree with the customer. Agreement is always the first necessary step to reaching a mutually beneficial solution.

When I first encountered this idea, I immediately started thinking of counter arguments. What if the customer is wrong? What if they lie? What if they’re just plain rude?

It is important to note that the agreement is a signal of understanding. If a customer is wrong, you do not have to validate their assertion. However you must agree and acknowledge that they feel and think the way that they do. This is a critical difference. You are agreeing and acknowledging how the customer views the world. You are not agreeing to their demands, but you are agreeing and understanding how they feel.

Ultimately, no matter how illogical and irrational a customer may be, they are still human. Find the underlying area of agreement and use this as a basis to move forwards with the customer, not against them. While they may not always be right, responding to a complaint or an objection with "I agree" disarms the customer and opens them up to following suggestions.

Agents need to remain in control of all customer interactions, especially if a situation turns negative. Agreeing and validating the customer’s opinion is a simple but powerful communication tool to ensure agents can positively influence the encounter. People judge an experience based on the peak point and its end, so agents should use the agreement principle to side with the customer, before ultimately resolving the conversation on a high point.

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Consider the alternative. By disagreeing with a customer, you are creating a fundamental divide between you. Especially in sales, it is almost impossible to get an agreement with disagreement. This fundamental principle is often ignored, at the expense of the relationship between the customer and the agent representing the organization.

An agent’s role is to support the customer and achieve an outcome. An effective resolution can only be reached if both parties are first in agreement.

It is important to qualify whether the customer is complaining, or has real objections. Saying that you understand how someone feels does not validate their objection, it just shows that you are human enough to understand what they are feeling is their opinion.

This agreement principle applies equally to support and sales scenarios.

Common telesales objections around time, money, and “I need to think about it” can also be discounted using the agreement tactic. “Sir, I agree that price is high. All our customers say the price is high. They appreciate that the technology helps grow their revenue, and that quality costs money.”

While easy to understand, this verbal jiu-jitsu needs practice to be used effectively. It can’t be scripted, it has to be internalized.

Can you identify common scenarios in your own contact center where agreement could resolve potentially negative situations? Share your advice and experiences in the comments.



Topics: Customer Experience

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