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Negotiation - A Tool for Customer Service

» Introduction
This article gives the reader insight that allows him/her to Learn how additional business can be realized, as the result of negotiations related to and through a Customer Service department. It contains lessons that can be used in other aspects of the reader's life.
» Step 1
Recently I found myself in the middle of an automobile mishap (accident). I called my insurance company and reported the incident. I was told I should contact the insurance company of the driver that caused the mishap and report the incidence to them. The reason given by my insurance company for having me contact the other insurance company was to save me time. Balderdash! Nevertheless, I complied with their request.

After contacting the other driver’s insurance company, I was told an insurance adjuster would come to my home to survey the damage to my car. Once he arrived, he looked at the damage, gave me an estimate for the cost of the repairs and stated I could call his office to receive a list of auto body shops, in my area, that could complete the repairs on my car. From the list I received, I contacted three repair shops, by driving to their locations. The first location told me, I should take the money from the insurance company and have the work done somewhere else. I was told, another body shop might not do as good a job as their establishment, but I’d have some extra dollars to put in my pocket (As I observed the body language of the person making the suggestion, I had the feeling, since there was less than a few thousand dollars of work that was required, my repair was not that significant to them. They didn’t want to take the time to work on my car.)The second location I went to was closed and it was only 2:00 in the afternoon. I left there and went to the third location.

As I arrived at the third location, I observed a gentleman looking in my direction. When I exited the car, with the adjuster’s estimate in my hand, he said hello and commented on the state of my car. He asked if he could see the estimate. I gave it to him and he immediately picked up the phone and started calling around for the parts that would be needed to repair my car. I looked at him in amazement and asked what he was doing, even though I already knew. He told me their policy was to help every customer get their vehicle repaired and back on the road as fast as possible. In addition, he told me that I would be eligible for a rental car, paid for by the other person’s insurance company. He then called a car rental company and booked the appointment for me.

Negotiation Lessons:

(Note) First of all, I will not renew my auto policy with my existing company. I checked their rates and found them to be slightly lower than the insurance company of the other driver. Nevertheless, I’ll pay the extra premium for the service I received when I was in need. Second, anyone and everyone I come in contact with, that needs auto repair work, I’ll refer to the location that repaired my car and if I need auto repair work done in the future, I’ll go back to that location. Think about this for a moment. I’m willing to pay more, because of the way I was treated.


The negotiation lessons are …

• There will be times when you can get more by giving before receiving. Seek those times out, whenever possible.

• When you’re negotiating with someone, try to help them get what they want/need. Never be too greedy. (Note: Negotiate harder with a ‘taker,’ someone who will take and never give in return, or use your willingness to give as a sign of weakness)

• Never look at a situation as a ‘one time’ deal and always think of what you can do, before entering into a negotiation session to put yourself into a stronger negotiation position.

• In any case, if you’re a business owner, employee, or stay at home mom or dad, always give people more than they expect. Always try to under promise and over deliver

That’s it for this week, until next week – here’s hoping all of your negotiation sessions are happy ones and remember, “You’re always negotiating.”

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