Remember the old adage that the customer is always right? Unfortunately not all customers are always easy to deal with. In my experience as a customer service representative, I have encountered a lot of customers who can be rude, unruly and just plain nasty. It can be very difficult but you’ve got deal with it. There are no hard and fast rules to follow but finding ways to help these difficult and angry customers is the key to providing great customer service even if you feel like telling them to go you know where.
The first thing I’ve learned is that you have to LISTEN. I can’t emphasize this enough. Let them vent their anger and frustration. Never ever talk over them or argue. You will not win. While listening, make them feel that you are there to help. Build a rapport through empathy with the customer. Always put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Show that you understand their position and situation. Once you identify with the customer’s issue, it will help diffuse the situation. This will actually calm the customer down. If you verbally “nod” during the call, they will feel better understood.
The tone of your voice could make a whole lot of difference. Lower your voice. If the customer starts shouting and speaking louder, start speaking more slowly and in a much lower tone of voice. Remain calm. Remember do not take it personally. It’s just work. As you deal with the situation with a calm, clear mind, unaffected by the customer’s tone of voice or volume, their anger will generally be diminished.
Apologize if necessary. An apology is one of the easiest way to appease an angry and difficult customer. Acknowledge that they have a problem and that you are willing to resolve it for them in the best way you can. Sometimes that is all the customer wants to hear.
Know when you have to give in. It is better to draw a compromise in their favor rather than be on the phone for longer than necessary. Remember this is not the norm but an exception to the rule.
If the customer starts getting very nasty, swearing or becoming verbally abusive, take a deep breath and continue as if you did not hear what they just said. Remember it is not about you. It is nothing personal. The customer is just venting their frustration. Remind the guest that you are there to help them resolve whatever the problem is. Most often than not this simple statement will help diffuse the situation. Make sure not to get sidetracked by the customer’s personal comments and gently guide the conversation back to the issue at hand and how you intend to resolve it.
Remember that you are talking to a human being. Everyone has good and bad days. Maybe they have family issues, financial problems or just plain bad luck that day. Try to help make their day a better one by being cheerful, pleasant and calm.
If you have the power to compensate the customer for whatever problem they have, do not hesitate. Offer them some form of compensation, whether it’s giving them extra points, a discount or a gift card. This will usually solve the problem. If you promise to do something for the customer, be certain to fulfill it. A simple call back, giving them an update on the matter or sending an apology letter would sometimes suffice.
There are no hard and fast rules. Just be the best that you can be.
Customers have never been as demanding as they are today. They demand an immediate response, if not instant, from anyone they reach out to for customer support may it be through voice, chat, social media or email support.