Friday, September 1, 2017

How to Help a Frustrated Customer

By Sean Hawkins

You know that moment when you take a call, only to be greeted with less-than-friendly (or even offensive) words from a frustrated, angry customer? How do you react? Do you:
A. Hang up the phone, clock out, and leave your badge on the desk.
B. Adjust your tone and attitude to match that of the customer.
C. Reassure the customer you are committed to helping them.

At times, it may be tempting to go with option A or B. However, it’s pretty obvious that C is the best choice. With this is mind, how do you turn a frustrated customer into a satisfied customer? First, remember your customer wants a solution to their problem. It is imperative as Customer Service professionals that we put ourselves in their shoes. Doing so allows you to look past their anger and focus on the cause of the anger.

Here are some tips for turning a frustrated customer into a satisfied customer. At the same time, it will allow you to maintain your composure, and win the customer. 
  1. Let them exhale- When a customer is frustrated, allow them an opportunity to vent within reason. My practice is to acknowledge their frustration and allow them the opportunity to voice their frustration. 
  2. Breathe- It is best to have a clear head and calm disposition when assisting angry customers.   
  3. Be friendly- Your tone helps set the mood for the remainder of the conversation.
  4. Reassure the customer that you are willing to help. Greeting the customer and restating the problem reassures them that you are ready to assist. More importantly, it lets them know, you understand what the problem is!
  5. Listen, without interrupting or overreacting- Interrupting the customer may come across as combative. You cannot actively listen when you are speaking, and you cannot solve a problem if you don’t know what it is.
  6. Don't take it personal- The customer is in need of your assistance. As cliché as it may sound, the customer isn’t angry at you, so reign in your personal feelings. 
  7.  Remain cheerful and respectful- Throughout the interaction with the customer, maintain a professional demeanor. Refrain from using a condescending tone and words or phrases that will only escalate the situation.
  8. Follow up-  Send and email to the customer thanking them for their business, expressing empathy, and reaffirming they are satisfied with the resolution.

What tips do you have? Feel free to leave a comment.

I have over 15 years of progressive call center leadership and experience in the public, private and government sectors.

I have led or consulted contact centers of various sizes across numerous industries. Additionally, I’ve implemented new technology and products, while maintaining award-winning contact centers.

Connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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