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Dec 14, 2011 | 6 comments
When you are running a business you won’t be able to please all customers no matter how hard you try.
In some cases that translates into an angry customer dialing the contact number and swearing at the customer service rep on the other end of the line.
How your reps respond to this situation will define your brand in a way that no number of brand building exercises can.
Oh, and if you need a less fluffy and more business-ey reason to pay attention to these interactions take a look at this survey by American Express.
In response to one question, 39% of the respondents said that they would not hesitate switch to the competition because of poor service experience.
This point is critical, because if you don’t make sure your customer service reps get this simple yet powerful concept none of the other suggestions here are going to matter. They must understand that the anger of a customer is not directed personally at them. They are not personally responsible for a misplaced order, a delayed flight or a defective product. Their job is to understand the customer problem and do their best to make it up to the her.
Angry people shout. This is almost human nature and therefore the first sentences out of an angry caller would be usually high decibel.
However tempting it might be, don’t respond back in the same volume. You want to get the job done with the minimum of fuss and shouting back antagonizes the customer even more. When your customer ultimately gets tired of shouting, respond politely in a normal voice. In the vast majority of cases this will cut the hysterics out of the conversation and enable you to get down to business.
After you have determined what exactly the issue is, offer a way out. Give it your best shot and try to solve the problem immediately. Less ideal, you bump it up to higher levels and fast track it for an appropriate solution.
In case the problem can’t be solved and is beyond repair- a damaged piece of luggage or a lost shipment- follow your obligations and don’t give any impression of trying to weasel out of your side of the contract.
Regardless of what you do in the previous step, sometimes it’s not enough to soothe frazzled nerves. Your customer was stressed through no fault of hers and fairly or unfairly, the blame will fall upon you. You don’t want that impression. So do something that will make up for the mental stress and harassment. If you are an airline, offer her a free ticket for her next flight. If you are a shipping company, offer a complimentary gift card.
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