Any career that involves working with the public can be tiresome since making customers feel happy isn’t always the easiest task. You’re often relieved when they’re satisfied, while feeling helpless when they’re not. Unfortunately, 66% of customers with a problem experience rage, and agents need to know the right ways to handle these situations skillfully.
Luckily, there are some actions a CSR can take to make sure a bad conversation ends well. Here five simple steps in chronological order:
1. Don’t Take Their Anger Personally
When a customer expresses strong emotions it’s usually for a good reason, but that’s typically unrelated to the agent. Instead of getting caught up in the customer’s emotions, a rep should be listening carefully so they can identify cues that will help them fix the problem. It’s important that reps are able to distance themselves from a customer’s anger so they can listen and acknowledge the complaint.
2. Repeat the Facts and Be Empathetic
If the customer feels like a rep not only understands their problem, but can empathize with the situation as well, they’ll automatically feel less upset. A simple confirmation can sound like, “OK, so from what I understand there’s an issue with your statement?” This will calm the customer down and allow them to re-group.
3. Let the Customer Be Angry
The most effective way to start calming down an unhappy customer is to just let them vent. Reps shouldn’t judge whether or not the complaint is valid, they should simply start with the assumption that the customer’s grievance is justified. Say things like, “That must be very frustrating”, so that customers can see that the rep is not there to argue, but to help.
4. Apologize and Try to Solve the Problem
Sincerely apologize before anything else, 75% of customers want an apology, but only 28% of customers receive one. Ideally, a rep should be able to solve the customer’s problem and reassure them that it won’t happen again, but depending on the nature of the problem, that’s not always possible. This is when step four becomes handy.
5. Make the Customer Feel Like They’re Received Something
A whopping 63% of customers say they receive nothing after a problem; this simply won’t keep customers loyal. It’s important to offer something that allows the customer to get back to a happy place. Your call center should have parameters in place to allow agents to offer discounts or perks.
6. Make Sure You Always Follow-Up
One of the biggest complaints customers have about the service they receive is that it’s impersonal. What’s more, according to a recent study, 99% of companies do not follow up with customers after a service interaction to ensure customer satisfaction. Correcting a problem and then sending a follow-up is a good way of demonstrating a level of attentiveness which helps boost customer loyalty.
When customers call you they are likely already angry about something, and unfortunately your call center might be setup in such a way that adds more fuel to the fire. Case in point; refer to sections one and six below which relate to the epidemic of long hold times. Don’t keep customers waiting on hold when your call center can EASILY offer them a call-back!