For the most part, the MeloTel team is of the belief that all businesses strive to provide their customers with excellent experiences. Placing unbeatable customer service at the top of our list of priorities, we still are well aware that not all customers are going to be 100% satisfied 100% of the time. In the event that you encounter an irate customer, it’s important to understand that you have an opportunity to make a very good impression.
You see, it’s fairly easy to get along with a happy customer. It’s the ones who are upset that present challenges. When you react in ways that not only lessen feelings of aggravation but actually change opinions, you know you have provided a high level of customer service. As mentioned, it’s not all that easy. After all, you are human. And no one likes being yelled at. So what are the best ways to appropriately handle irate customers?
Here are five ideas:
1. Let them speak their minds. When a customer is already upset, it’s important to do whatever it takes to not worsen his/her mood. That means avoiding interruptions. Don’t cut your customer off when he/she is explaining a grievance. Giving customers the opportunity to speak is the first step in getting them to calm down. In many situations, it’s understandable that customers are angry. Let them express their feelings before you attempt to offer solutions.
2. Express empathy. Now that you’ve let your customer get everything off his/her chest, it’s time to show some compassion for the situation. Show that you’ve listened and that you understand the source of the frustration by using empathy statements such as “I can completely understand where you’re coming from. If I were in your shoes, I’d feel the same way”. Such an offering of comprehension will pave the way for you to offer a solution your customer will listen to.
3. Beware of your tone. This is especially important for customer service representatives who are handling customer complaints over the phone. Be careful not to sound sarcastic or irritated in any of your responses. Naturally, that would only exacerbate your customer’s anger. Communicating in a soft and pleasant tone is your best bet if you wish to not only remedy the matter at hand, but maintain your customer’s loyalty. It’s all about showing respect.
4. Don’t contradict your customer. We recently had a colleague inform us about an incident at a restaurant that involved him complaining about the temperature of his meal. After telling his server that it was cold, the server responded by saying “most people prefer it that way”. Needless to say, this did not please our colleague. There’s really no reason to offer your own personal opinion simply to oppose what your customer has said.
5. Ask questions. Don’t assume that just because you are in the customer service position you know exactly how to service your customer. Instead, ask questions that pertain specifically to the problem at hand. Become aware of how the complaint originated and what may have been the root cause for the concern. As well, go ahead and ask the customer what he/she feels your company can do to provide a solution. It may help to quickly resolve the entire issue.
As mentioned, the MeloTel team takes customer service very seriously. To experience our own special brand of customer service, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Be sure to ask us about our many hosted services including our VoIP-based Commercial Phone Services. You can either give us a call at at 1-888-MELOTEL or use the “Live Chat Support” feature on our website. It’s located in the bottom right corner!