Handling customer phone calls is a tricky business, especially when those customers are already frustrated or fully enraged by something they believe your company has mishandled.
According to the 2015 Rage Study, problem experiences with customer service continue to rise, with 54 percent of respondents reporting issues. A full 63 percent of callers reported that they received nothing in response to their complaint, enraging them further.
This is completely unacceptable for businesses anywhere, and it will ultimately lead to a few companies with really amazing customer service controlling the market shares in a range of industries. But it’s not too late for you to improve your customer service act by learning better how to handle frustrated customers.
These four phrases can help you get started, they can easily change the course of a call for the better:
- “I’m not sure, but I’ll find the answer.” There’s nothing more infuriating than being given the wrong information when you’re speaking to a customer service representative. That wrong info can inform choices that are made in error because of bad information, creating an avalanche effect for the caller. Even when it’s less of a domino effect, bad information wastes everyone’s time. Customer service reps who work hard to find the right answer, not just any answer, earn customer trust and loyalty.
- “I understand your frustration.” Too often, answering service operators and other phone professionals forget that the person on the other end of the telephone is a human being. A little empathy can go a long way in customer service, as well as helping to ease the caller’s tension. But it’s more than just the words, the operator has to mean what they say, because tone of voice is a big part of this equation.
- “I’ll give you a status update by [date and time].” Not knowing is almost worse than getting an answer that’s unfair. Instead of leaving a customer hanging, or forcing them to wait by the phone for days, give yourself a deadline for solving their problem.Even if you don’t actually have a resolution by the stated time, give them a call to let them know you’re still working on their problem and an updated deadline. Don’t fall into the blame trap, that doesn’t help anyone. Simply tell the customer what’s happened, where you are, and when you expect to have their problem handled.
- “Is there anything else I can help you with today?” After a long and exhausting call with a person who is angry or frustrated the last thing you really want is to invite more problems, but that’s exactly what you need to be doing.Asking if they need any more help gives them a chance to address anything else on their minds and signals that you’re still listening and willing to make them incredibly happy.
Anyone can handle a caller who’s happy and tolerant, but the real test of your answering service or telephone operator bank is how they handle a customer that’s frustrated. Saying the wrong thing may result in making the problem worse, but these four phrases can help turn that same conversation into a better experience for everyone.