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Page Title: Pitfalls to Avoid
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A  Navy  spouse,  husband  or  wife,  has  a  strong influence on the decision of the member to reenlist (ship over)  or  return  to  the  civilian  sector.  That  is  not unreasonable. After all, the problems that arise in a marriage are best handled by both partners. When the husband or wife is absent because of deployments, training, or upkeep, the spouse may be unfamiliar with Navy procedures or with the area. These unknowns  may  further  complicate  problems  that already exist. The Navy spouse doesn’t need added complications to an already stressful situation. This is no  time  for  wrong  answers  or  indifferent  service. Therefore, when your customers are Navy dependents, make sure they receive the services to which they are entitled. PITFALLS TO AVOID In the previous section we discussed why a good attitude is important to customer satisfaction. We will now  consider  some  specific  mistakes  you  might  make as a contact point representative in handling customer needs.  These  mistakes  grow  out  of  negative  attitudes toward  the  customer,  the  customer’s  problem,  the  Navy, and their job. JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS Quite often you may jump to a conclusion because you feel you have all the facts needed to make a decision. But when you jump to a conclusion, you are actually making a decision based on incomplete information. It is like having one half of the pieces to a puzzle! When you do that, you often ignore additional information provided by the customer. Jumping to a conclusion for routine needs might save time, but it can lead to misunderstanding. When you make assumptions, you quit listening and begin to organize  yours  thoughts  for  your  response  to  the customer. As a result you may miss information that could  be  important  to  solving  the  problem.  Because  of your misunderstanding, you then may be unable to provide the correct service. You have a better knowledge of your field than the customer has. Therefore, you might assume that you know the customer’s need before the customer finishes expressing  it. Earlier, we discussed the customer who has only a vague  idea  about  the  nature  of  a  problem.  Conclusion jumping seldom helps this type of customer. You have to  use  tactful,  skillful  questioning  to  properly  identify what this customer is trying to tell you. Case Number 7 illustrated some conclusions arrived at by both the customer and the DK. In the customer’s case,  SA  Doe  was  influenced  by  wishful  thinking.  His shipmate had told him he could draw special pay; the DK agreed. The DK assumed that SA Doe knew how much he could draw and that he knew the procedures for  drawing  the  special  pay. You are responsible for giving customers all the facts to help them receive the service they need; you shouldn’t  assume  that  the  customers  already  know  that information. Likewise, customers shouldn’t jump to conclusions before hearing all the facts. In this case, the customer was misled by incomplete information, and the  contact  point  representative  initially  did  nothing  to provide  the  customer  with  the  needed  information. CONTROLLING  PERSONAL  REACTIONS You  may  have  adverse  reactions  to  the  customer. You  may  not  like  the  person’s  appearance,  speech,  or attitude. These reactions can hinder you in providing the quality  of  service  that  the  customer  needs  or  deserves. Attitude is probably the most common cause of adverse reactions. Maintaining a professional manner is difficult  when  the  customer  is  cynical,  overbearing,  or a  smart  aleck.  However  you  must  overcome  your personal reaction to the customer’s attitude and redirect your  energy  to  providing  the  needed  service-isn’t  that what it is all about? Customers who have an extreme dislike for the Navy often express that feeling through their attitude or approach.  Their  negative  attitude  or  approach,  in  turn, evokes a negative reaction. The customer sometimes unconsciously displays a negative attitude or approach to produce results that will justify the poor opinion the customer has of the Navy. If the customer receives poor service  because  of  the  negative  attitude  or  approach, then  a  negative  opinion  is  justified. You will probably remember a customer who gave you a rough time on a previous visit, and that memory may affect your response when you serve that customer again. Your idea of helping may then be to help the so-and-so over the side. You may see that as solving your problem, but it would not contribute very much to the customer’s   well-being. Not all personal reactions are violent; they may be mild reactions caused by unconcern or lack of interest. However, these reactions can be just as deadly to a customer’s   satisfaction.   For   example,   everyone possesses a feeling of self-worth. If the contact point representative  denies  this  self-worth  by  showing  a  lack of concern or interest, the customer may show the same lack of concern or interest toward the Navy and its representatives as a defense. 3-6

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