So how can you start investing in customer service within your organization?
In this article, we explore the H.E.A.T. model of customer service—a tried and true method for tackling a difficult customer service situation—and offer some expert tips for improving customer service in your business.
The H.E.A.T. Customer Service Model: 4 Steps to Success
The first step in the H.E.A.T. approach is to “Hear” the customer out.
Though this isn’t always easy to do, the customer will feel better in the end because you gave them time to voice their concerns. Letting someone vent and listening to what they’re upset about is also key to making a connection and getting the customer to work with rather than against you to find a solution.
Try to “Empathize” with the customer and put yourself in their shoes. Look beyond their words to what they’re feeling in the moment.
Practice naming their emotions and repeating them back to the customer so they recognize you are taking the time to understand their perspective. Try: “I understand you’re frustrated, and I can see why. I would be too.”
By showing your customer you relate to their mindset, you can begin to defuse the situation.
After empathizing, the H.E.A.T model suggests “Apologizing” to the customer.
This is an important step to remember, even if you did not personally create the situation that’s making the customer angry. You must do your best to apologize on behalf of the organization while also taking on ownership of the mistake.
Keep in mind that while you didn’t do whatever it is that’s bothering them, your company did, and you’re a team.
Heaslip adds, “a simple ‘I’m sorry’ can go a long way in smoothing over situations like these. Stand united, and take the H.E.A.T. for your team. Hopefully, your team members will do the same for you when the tables are turned. After all, we all make mistakes.”
The final and perhaps most crucial step in the H.E.A.T. customer service model is “Taking Action.” Always make sure you have an action plan ready to follow your apology.
How are you going to fix the problem? What can the customer expect next?
Even if you can’t promise their issue will be fully resolved, be sure you let them know the steps you plan to take to try and help, who they can expect to hear from next, and what they can do in the meantime.