Even the most prepared and organized moving companies will face the inevitable (and dreaded) day that a conflict arises during a move. How do you handle this situation in a professional, proactive, and responsible way? We’ve outlined a variety of situations and offered tips for how you can use conflicts as an opportunity to demonstrate your value and capability. Read up, and be prepared.
When something goes wrong…
First and foremost, take ownership of the issue and stay solutions-oriented. Your clients will feel comforted to see you immediately get a handle on the situation with attention towards keeping the move… moving. Even the best companies make mistakes, and accidents happen.
- If your company makes a mistake, apologize and offer a solution. Whenever possible offer to make amends free of charge, or add some sort of bonus service; your customer will be pleased and feel well taken care of.
- If damage occurs, immediately own up to it. This lets your client know that you are willing to take responsibility and find a solution that is suitable to all. Document the damage properly on the Bill of Lading, and use your company’s established procedures for damages.
- Even a well-planned move can be met with an unexpected hurdle. Street closures, traffic back-ups, an elevator is closed or broken – take ownership of the situation and assure your client that you’re committed to completing the move.
- If your client is the one who made the mistake? Don’t make them feel bad or wrong; instead, offer to help them find a solution. They probably have little experience moving, so they don’t know how everything works. Explain what needs to happen with kindness and understanding and together you can find a solution.
How to handle arguments
Unfortunately, moving can be stressful – and some clients will become frustrated or upset when something doesn’t go as they hoped. If you find yourself facing an argument with a client, here’s what you should do.
Take a beat. Before trying to respond in a heated moment, let the client fully express him or herself. This gives you a moment to take a breath and gives them time to calm down a little and feel like you heard their concerns.
Speak slowly and deliberately, without raising your voice. You want to de-escalate the situation, so as much as possible, keep your calm.
Use I/we statements rather than “you” statements. “You” statements can sound accusatory – “You should have emptied the dresser before the movers arrived” – and will probably put your client on the defensive when they feel wrong. Using “I/we” statements, like, “We recommend emptying furniture before the move” – sound friendlier, and give you the opportunity to explain your perspective to the client without accusation.
Avoid the word “No”. Nobody really likes to hear it, and it can make you appear rigid and unaccommodating when really what you mean to say is, “Actually, we will…” When you are informing a client that they can’t have something, or that something will need to go differently than they thought, inform them about the different options that are available instead.
Whether it is damages, a change of plans, or an actual disagreement, make sure you document everything that happens – including what you told or promised the client when the issue occurred. This will ensure you have proper backup later in the moving process in case the client makes a claim that doesn’t match what actually happens. It also ensures your company will be able to properly follow up with the client to ensure they are satisfied and well taken care of.
Starting the move day off right can always help create a positive experience and even alleviate some of the tension should an issue arise during the move. If you’re an Unpakt partner, give us a call! We’re happy to help resolve tough situations. A tough situation is an amazing opportunity to demonstrate your value to a customer – don’t waste it!