While I am not in Customer Service business, my current role may involve a certain degree of Customer-facing. Most of the time I am required to jump into a critical situations where we have angry, hugely dissatisfied Customers. As a self-confessed Introvert, it is not very easy for me to deal with such kind situation – psychologically.
Thankfully the Company has a way to develop people, equip employees with the required knowledge to be able to handle such high temperature cases.
I’ve listed below what I can gather from my learning so far :
1. Make sure that you are ready to listen to the Customer, ACTIVELY. Sometimes, listening requires comforting murmurings (hmm, uh uh, I see, is that so, yes). This will give some assurance to the the angry person that you are really listening.
2. Take Note and Paraphrase. You would want to make sure that you understand what Customer is trying to say, and do not miss any point. Paraphrase, or, repeat Customer main talking points with your own words to ensure mutual understanding.
3. Arguing is the kiss of death. It only serves to escalate emotions. Remember that, although the Customer may not always right, they are always the Customer.
Customers represent job security for you! Even if they are wrong, they deserve your utmost respect, which means that you find areas to agree on, not disagree.
4. Empathy – Let’s not get empathy confused with sympathy. Sympathy is when you say, “Poor baby, let’s make it better”, whereas empathy is imagining what it might feel like to experience what the other is going through – it’s walking a mile in their shoes.
Say things like, “I think your thoughts and feedbacks are valid and justified. I believe there is no one who wouldn’t feel upset when this kind of rare situation – data corruption happened to them. We do accept your concerns”
5. Apologies. Whenever you have an encounter with a Customer, you represent the whole company in that interaction. The Customer builds an impression of the entire company by how you treat them at the moment.
They don’t care that you work in a different building from the person that created the problem; they just want you, as a representative of the entire organization, to take ownership and fix the problem.
Say things like, “I am sorry this situation happened, these were really unfortunate events.”
“Please accept my sincere apology for the frustation this situation has caused. I can assure you that we never feel comfortable to deliver this kind of news to any Customers, however it is what it is. By sharing this in an honest and factual way, we hope that we now have a conclusion on data recovery and able to move forward.”
7. FIX the ISSUE. Self-explanatory. The bare minimum requirement to conclude Customer support engagement is to solve the issue or provide alternative solutions/workarounds.
8. Something extra. This step is what separates the good from the great.
Great companies will not only do all the steps that we’ve outlined here so far, but they will compensate you for your trouble by adding on something extra. This is really what cements a customer’s loyalty. Create a lasting positive impression on the Customer and turn that angry Customer into a delighted one.
Example : Customer Letter from Executive, VIP visits, price cut on Business deals, and so on.
Note : the images shown in this post are not mine.