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What Would You Do?: Slow Down For Elderly Customers

Q: I receive many calls from elderly customers who are uncomfortable trying to figure out our products on their own. Should I avoid these time-consuming customers so that I can help more people throughout the day?

A: The population of the United States is aging -- and that means your customer base is aging too.

Don’t let your impatience ruin what could be a wonderful relationship, stresses Jennifer Buerk, a customer service rep for Fidelity Communications. Here’s how she turned a potentially irritating experience into a boon for her company:

Listen carefully. You may want to interrupt the customer’s explanation so that you can rush him off the phone. However, by really listening to your customer, you can better gauge his level of experience and what he needs from you.

Provide a personal service. Now that you know what the customer needs, you can go above and beyond the call of duty. For instance, Buerk’s customer wasn’t sure how to operate a leased DVR, so Buerk mailed him the complete manual -- even though he received one with his equipment.

Be available for follow-up calls. Despite receiving the manual, Buerk’s customer still had questions. When he called, Buerk took the time to address each of his concerns and made sure he understood his device.

Lesson Learned:Buerk’s customer was so impressed with her service that he not only became a loyal customer, he also sent her a Christmas card thanking her for being so kind to him!


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