No matter what industry you’re in, whether it be home improvement, auto sales or even professional sports, you’re going to hear your fair share of complaints over the phone. When people have an issue with your brand, they are going to call to complain. Since you can’t control how other people act, you must decide how you’re going to respond.
Reacting to an irate customer over the phone is no easy task. You have to first digest all the information they are telling you, relax the customer, and then respond in a calm and professional manner. Needless to say, this process is easier said than done.
That is why I have broken down six essential tips in responding to all customer complaints over the phone. If you follow all six, you will become a customer service expert.
What To Do
Relax the Customer
When someone is yelling or extremely angry, they are rarely in the correct mindset for a professional conversation. Therefore, the first step in dealing with a complaint over the phone is to relax the customer. In order to do this, you must stay be patient, stay polite and as hard as it may be, let them finish venting.
You must be patient. If they took the time to call and yell, then they are going to have a lot to say. While a few swear words might get thrown in, you have to hold back and let them finish. After you have fully taken in their complaints, pause, take a deep breath, and start your response.
Be Positive & Respond
You have now spent 5-10 minutes listening. It’s time to act. To start off, reiterate what their issues are. Irate customers want to be heard so you must let them know that you have listened and understand their complaint. Reciting it back to the customers ensures that both of you are on the same page. If they interrupt you, once again, let them vent. It’s vital that both parties are in agreement with the issue before moving forward.
As you move on with the conversation, it’s imperative that you remain positive and sympathetic. Positivity is contagious. If you’re having a bad day, try to smile as you converse. Believe me, it will help.
Assure them that you understand their frustration. They need to know that you’re on the same level. Afterwards, start explaining their options. Communicate how each option can help solve their problem.
If none of the available options resolve their issue, from their point of view, then empathetically, apologize and explain why. There will be complaints that can’t be solved. Certain company policies may restrict you, but if you want to keep your job, go by the policy. Once the customer physically hears that you’re trying their best, they usually calm down and understand the issue from your point of view.
Encourage them to Call Back
As a brand, you are there to satisfy the customer. If they have an issue, they should not only feel obligated to call you, but encouraged. After you build a strong, professional relationship with the customer, they should know that no matter how big or small the issue may be, you will be ready to chat, listen and resolve the issue as soon as possible. Once this connection has been made, you are golden.
What NOT To Do
Now that I have told you what you should do on all customer service calls, I need to share what you should NOT do. Some may be difficult, but if you want to solve a customer service dispute, you must avoid these common reactions.
Don’t Get Angry
As I iterated above, it’s important to stay positive and sympathetic. Angry customers feed off your reaction. If you get angry, they will follow suit. Anger will only deter you from advancing the conversation and solving the ultimate issue. After all, that is why they called in the first place.
Don’t Take it Personal
With all business, as hard as it may seem, you can’t take remarks personal. Even if the customer is screaming, yelling and making personal attacks, you have to remain calm and professional. This will make your life easier and ease the pain of dealing with such enraged customers.
In order to relax the customer (step 1), you have to sit back and listen. Oftentimes, especially if you disagree with the customer, our first reaction is to argue and fight back. Well, if you start arguing, how do you expect to calm them down? It’s nearly impossible to so. Therefore, no matter how wrong the customer may be, do not argue. As they say, “the customer is always right.”
There will always be haters in the world. No matter how amazing your product is or how outstanding your service department may be, people will call and complain. How you handle it is what turns a good company into a great one. By following these six tips above, you will be able to handle any dispute a customer throws at you.