We have all experienced dissatisfaction in a certain product or service. There is this unsettling feeling of being cheated on, lied to or played with. While there are those who just take it easy, there are some people who find it difficult to just let it go and insist on getting the value of their money back. That said, dealing with irate customers is one of the biggest challenges a business has to face. How a customer complaint is handled can make a huge impact on a business. It could mean losing the customer forever or gaining another patron. Great customer experience is a good retention tool and an image builder. After all, word of mouth is probably the cheapest and most effective marketing strategy. So whether a complaint is justified or not, dealing properly with irate customers must be every employee’s business in a business. Here are tips to turn a negative experience to a positive one.
1. Remain Calm
Remember that the most important thing to do in an emergency is to remain calm. Even if the situation is far from being an emergency, it may be good if it is treated as one. By staying calm, the mind is cleared thus enabling it to think reasonably and logically. While understandably it is tough trying to remain composure when a customer starts yelling or being rude, responding without compassion will only escalate hostilities. And although the human instinct is to guard ourselves from these attacks, keep in mind that it should not be taken personally. Detach your emotions from the current situation so you will be able to observe and understand from the customer’s point of view.
When a person is disappointed, the urge is to vent it off to somebody or anybody. Surely, it is difficult to be on the receiving end of these angry tirades. But it is important to let the customer talk about their issues and get it all out of their system. As much as possible, do not interrupt. Let the customer air their grievances as much as they want to and as long as they need to. Remember though that listening is not just about staying quiet 100% all the time. Rather active listening can play a good role in helping diffuse the situation. Make sure that proper questions are asked for clarification and remember that proper acknowledgement and responses can make the customer feel better.
3. Sympathize and Empathize
Feelings are the key. Make sure that the customers know that you understand their frustration and emotions about the mistakes. Other than being listened to, most customers want sympathy. Express sympathy over their unpleasant customer experience. But do not be over sympathetic. One or two responses of showing sympathy are enough. Be empathetic instead. Although sympathy and empathy are related, they have different meanings and are not interchangeable. Sympathy is showing compassion to a person’s plight. Empathy goes beyond sympathy. It is the ability to identify with others’ feelings and putting yourself in their shoes. Showing empathy allows you to be both professional and caring at the same time. It means that you do not only understand the customer’s problems but can relate to it as well.
Whether a complaint is legitimate or not, a customer wants to hear an apology. Sometimes a simple “sorry” can turn around a bad customer experience. Apologize sincerely without making excuses, without putting blame on someone else in the organization, without making sarcastic comments and without implying that the customer is overreacting.
5. Offer a Solution and Follow-Up
After hearing out the customer’s concerns and pacifying them, it is time to take action. What has happened cannot be undone, so it is time to move forward. Be accountable to the customer and make sure that they know that you are willing to help. But never promise unrealistic solutions or a timeline that you cannot attain. It is also good to solicit advice from the customer on how they want their issues to be handled or fixed. It could give them a boost and make them feel important.
Not every customer deals with disappointment in the same manner. Some customers when disappointed choose to keep quiet then look for another company to cater to their needs. On the other hand, there are those who will not let the experience pass by without airing their thoughts and grievances. While this is a very challenging situation to handle, look at the positive side and consider it as an opportunity for a business to make amends and hopefully win the customer back again and probably gain more patrons by word of mouth of how great their customer service is. The key is to adopt the mindset that every customer complaint is a chance to improve something about the way you do your business.
Choosing the Right Contact Center
Infinit Contact recruits, hires, and trains pool of customer service outsourcing agents who are highly competent, skilled, and patient to handle inbound call center services such as Complaints and Issue Resolution, Billing and Account Inquiries, and General Product Support. Learn more about our customer service outsourcing services here.