41. When You Are Late or Know You Wil be Late

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Customer Service - Full course


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When You Are Late or Know You Will Be Late :

When You Are Late or Know You Will Be Late By VanSight

COPYRIGHT 2009 VANSIGHT division of Synbiz Solutions Pvt Ltd:

COPYRIGHT 2009 VANSIGHT division of Synbiz Solutions Pvt Ltd 2 No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or for any purpose without the express permission of VanSight Division of Synbiz Solutions Pvt Ltd. The information contained herein may be changed without prior notice. VanSight is trademark of Synbiz Solutions Pvt Ltd. All other product and service names mentioned and associated logos displayed are the trademarks of their respective companies. Data contained in this document serves informational and educational purposes only. The information in this document is proprietary to Synbiz Solutions Pvt Ltd. This product contains training material for English or Soft Skills or Personality Development. Synbiz assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions in this document. Synbiz does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information, text, graphics, links, or other items contained within this material. This document is provided without a warranty of any kind, either express or implied, including but not limited to the implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, or non-infringement.

The Situation:

The Situation Being late for an appointment or meeting with a customer is not a good thing, but there are situations where you are delayed due to circumstances beyond your control because you needed to do something for the benefit of the customer. Here are some tips on how to handle situations where you know you will be late or you actually arrive late. 3

Techniques Used:

Techniques Used 4 Apologize Explain Reasoning or Actions Empathy Statements Offering Choices Empowering Providing Alternatives Thank-Yous


Dialogue 5 The employee realizes he is going to be at least 10 minutes late for a meeting with his customers because there was a delay in printing material that is needed for the meeting. The employee contacts the customer by phone.


Dialogue 6 Employee: Mr. Jones, I’m really sorry. It looks like I’m going to be about 10 minutes late to arrive because there’s been a delay in printing out the contracts we need to look at during the meeting. I’m printing them out now and shouldn’t be later than 3 p.m. Customer: Well, I’ve got the VP of Finance coming and I can’t have him sitting around waiting . I have to tell you I’m not impressed.


Dialogue 7 Employee: I can understand you are disappointed. I had to decide whether to delay coming over until the contracts are done or to come on time without the contracts. It seems like the best use of time, but if you want to reschedule or if there’s any way to make this more convenient, I’m flexible. Customer: No, that’s fine. Employee: If you want to go over the other reports while you’re waiting, maybe we can shorten the meeting. Customer: That’s a good idea.


Dialogue 8 When the employee finally arrives, this is what he says. Employee: I have to apologize to all of you, and especially to Mr. Smith (VP of Finance),for being late, and thank you for your patience. [He then explains the reason for arriving late.]

Explanations :

Explanations 9 Most of the techniques used in this example are straight-forward. The use of apologies , thank-yous , and empathy statements doesn’t need additional explanation. Here’s what’s important. Even though the delay is “only” 10 minutes, the employee notifies the customer of the delay and provides an explanation of why he will be late. Notification, even when you will only be a few minutes late, is always a good thing, because it demonstrates your concern for the customer and his or her time. If you look at , you will see the use of offering a choice to the customer. He is offering an “out” so that if the customer needs to reschedule or cancel the meeting, he can do so using the opening the employee provides. In , the employee offers an alternative or suggestion as to how the customer might use the 10-minute delay to his advantage, recognizing that the delay shouldn’t create “dead time” for the others attending the meeting. Finally, when the employee arrives, you can see a repeat of the techniques the employee used when notifying the customer of the delay. The employee decides to explain why he is late just in case the people attending the meeting were not informed of the reason for the delay.

How to Diffuse the Situation:

How to Diffuse the Situation 10 If you are late without good reason (e.g., oversleeping, error in planning), it’s probably best to give only a limited and general explanation, such as “I was unavoidably detained,” or to be honest and admit your mistake. The more established and positive your relationships with the customer, the more honest you can be.

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