Regardless of what line of business you’re in, angry and irate customers who want to scream and shout and make you feel like an utter failure are always, always – always – going to be an unfortunate reality of doing business.
Stress and anxiety levels can skyrocket when someone is yelling at you, completely throwing off your A game. Not only that, but customers who perceive a negative experience with your business are far more likely to spread the word, compared to those who have a stellar engagement and may tell one or two close friends, or simply not say anything at all.
The moral? The customer must come first, even when he or she is throwing a tantrum like a 2-year old. You always want to make certain your customers say “goodbye” without slamming down their phone and storming off – far off.
If you’re in the customer service business, you will one day encounter a less-than-happy camper. Here are three tips to keep your cool when you deal with cranky customers.
- Hear them out. Truly listen, even when it’s unpleasant. And it will be. You’ll be able to tell within the first few seconds of a telephone call if your customer is all fired up. Don’t attempt to solve a problem or talk them down or diffuse anything in the moment. Simply let them blow off some steam. Frequently, this released pressure valve can be a segue toward true communication. Being able to vent one’s frustrations can go a long way to reaching a calmer place where progress can be made. Do take notes while the tirade is in full swing, however. When you ultimately reach that emotional clearing, you will be able to tackle the actual matter at hand.
- Don’t lose your temper. This can be incredibly difficult, depending on your personality type. You’re human, after all, and you are being attacked. When the time does come for you to speak, keep the following in mind:
- Maintain a calm and even tone of voice.
- Remember you are not the target of the caller’s frustrations – the situation is.
- Try to empathize. Even if you’ve never acted on the impulse, you’ve likely felt the urge to make one or two nasty calls, yourself.
- Breathe in, breathe out. (Just not directly into the receiver.)
- Provide options and go the extra mile to make things right. If it’s in your wheelhouse, and the situation seems conducive – try a joke. Turning a frown upside down is the name of the game.
- Choose your words – carefully. When a caller is making unreasonable demands, there are several phrases that will help diffuse the issue. Agree with what you can (“If that is what happened, I’d be upset, too.”) Put yourself on the same side (“I wish we could do that.”) The latter can be followed with a reason, or just left to stand alone. Your next statement, however, should be “Here is what I can do,” followed by your explanation. Speak in a soothing voice and be matter of fact about the situation. Move forward to what you are going to do, and the situation will often resolve itself.
Perhaps the best option, however, is not fielding calls from a frustrated customer in the first place. Business owners know that it only takes one surly, dissatisfied customer to throw an entire day’s productivity out of whack.
Instead of wasting valuable time listening to someone vent, outsource your calls to Focus Telecommunications. Our professional agents can represent your company with efficiency and empathy, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We know how to deal with cranky customers and can provide reassurance to your clients while relaying the information you need to make everything right again.
More importantly, our customer service agents are adept at keeping your customers happy and content whenever they call. We can protect your reputation and help you build your business. We are listening. Give us a call at 800-886-6696 and let us know how we can help!