In Part One, we talked about the inevitability of negative customer experiences. Every once in a while, it happens, and there are always different reasons a customer may be upset.
But while the bad situation may be inevitable, a bad experience isn’t. In other words, there is always a good customer service experience that can be created from a bad one.
Here are more tips on how to turn the most difficult calls into excellent customer service:
1. Behave as if the whole world were watching.
When you’re on the phone with a particularly difficult customer, it can help to pretend that you’re on reality television. Would you really want the whole world to see you? Does this represent your business? Thinking about the call in these terms can help you calm your nerves if the customer starts hurling insults or making threats.
Don’t respond in kind. If you do, the customer will end up becoming a negative referral – they’ll tell all their friends (and everyone on social media) about your response. Keep calm and put your best reality TV personality on.
2. Ignore any threats or name calling.
If the customer does resort to threats or name calling, just let them go. Pretend they aren’t part of the conversation and concentrate on listening, empathizing and keeping your voice low.
An angry customer wants to hurt you as much as they feel they have been hurt, and unfortunately that sometimes results as insults. Don’t take their words personally – even if they are trying to make it personal. You aren’t the problem. The situation they’ve had to deal with. Take a deep breath and ignore the insults, and gently try to guide the conversation back to the issue at hand so you can get on to the solution.
3. Keep some perspective.
You’re dealing with a human – not an entity set on destroying your business. Maybe they are having a bad day. Maybe your technician being late was the fourth bad thing to happen to them that day. Everyone has had hard days, so try to see their upset state as a phase and not something that you have to respond to in kind. Be the calming influence in their life for the day.
4. Know when it’s time to relent.
If your customer is demanding something outrageous, like a full refund, try to see if you can strike some kind of bargain that is slightly in their favor. It’s worth it to your business to take a hit on this particular transaction if it means avoiding negative word of mouth and losing out on future business. Know when you need to stand your ground, and when it’s better for the long term success of your business to relent a little bit.
Great customer service can plant seeds for future business growth. Even if a customer is totally in the wrong, by listening, empathizing and knowing when to relent when necessary, you can make sure you maintain a great reputation.