How to Handle Difficult Customers and Stay Sane 63

3 Tips for Optimum Product Distribution

This is a guest post by Lena Hemsworth, who spent a better part of her life working as a business consultant in Sydney. Now she is a freelance blogger and copywriter. When she is not working she enjoys kite surfing and taking care of houseplants.

The fact is that customer service isn’t an easy thing to do.

As a customer service operator, you have to face a variety of challenges every day. This makes this position crucial for the customer support team.

However, this doesn’t mean that you won’t need help from time to time. There will be situations when a customer will contact you in rage, and you have only so little time to relieve the tension and find out what the resolution to the problem is. The main thing in this situation is to be able to effectively recognize and handle the customer’s issue.

Understand what the customer really wants

When you’re talking to a customer who is enraged, you need to be able to find a way through all that anger, and comprehend what the customer is actually looking for.

Sometimes, the solution can be rather simple. The customer may be simply asking for an apology, a discount on what they were billed, or a free upgrade that fixes their issue. Quite often, they are looking for nothing more than an efficient and quick fix of their problem.

Don’t rush and offer discounts and free items until you know what kind of resolution the customer is after. If your attempts are random, people will only get more frustrated because their needs aren’t met.

Look through the customer history, earlier chats, and notes that other agents have made so that you can get some insight. After all, your goal is to convert or retain these customers, not push them away.

The right people for the job

Saying 'No' at Work: Why, When and How to Do It Nicely infographic

It is essential that the right people are hired for the job of a customer service operator. They need to be empathetic and helpful by nature, which is how they will form the foundation of a quality customer support team.

It is necessary to review the candidate’s’ employment history and test them in order to see whether they have an intuitive sense of how to deal with tough situations.

People with experience in digital marketing, or someone who has worked a lot with people can be a great fit. But you should test their abilities and hear about their experience very carefully.

Live chat is a great way to perform role-playing scenarios where you can test their ability to react properly and professionally.

Organized departments and specialists

Customers need to be taken to the right people as fast as it is possible.

Every time that a customer is calling, and needs to be put on hold or transferred while the operator is going through their personal information, their patience is tested. This means that it is necessary to have organized departments and specialists that are going to quickly deliver solutions.

If we’re discussing live chat, it means that you should have a provider with an auto chat distribution feature. This automatically connects customers to an operator that is the best option for solving their issue, according to the rules that were previously defined.

If a customer has a designated account manager, the ACD will instantly route them so that they can get the proper support.

Be an effective listener

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The fact about difficult customers is that they really just want to be heard. This is why it is essential to have a customer support operator who is an effective listener and can therefore easily find the best way to resolve the issue.

If you don’t listen carefully, you might end up with a wrong solution. Or be forced to ask the customer to repeat themselves, which will only make them more frustrated.

Remember to take a deep breath that will help you focus on the present moment. Make use of small affirmations that will show the customer that you are engaged in the conversation, such as “I understand”, and “I see”.

Finally, when it is appropriate, recap what the customer told you. As it will help you stay engaged, and make sure that nothing is miscommunicated.

After all, the listening can help you learn how your services are perceived by other people, and improve your business.

Be present

Did you know that there are a lot of people out there who are spreading the word about your brand, without directly speaking to you? It is a common thing on Twitter and other social media to be mentioned without using the twitter handle or hashtag.

Customer will sometimes be pissed about your services. It is your job to answer all their complaints, no matter where they are.

Fishing for comments about your business seems like a hard thing to do, but luckily there are Google Alerts which can let you know when your brand is mentioned.

The most important thing for your business is a happy customer. What you need is a customer support strategy that encourages compassion, efficiency, and efficacy. This way you will make sure that you retain your customers, as well as keep the number of unsatisfied and difficult customers low.

With the right strategy, you will build a strong company reputation, which will certainly reflect on your customer base.

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One Guy’s Journey from a Work-at-Home Transcriptionist to Starting an Educational Institute 7

One Guy's Journey from a Work-at-Home Transcriptionist to Starting an Educational Institute

This is an interview-style post with Mahesh Kumar.

Hey Mahesh. What do you do?

I’m the Spokesperson of the Transcription Certification Institute, an Ellensburg-WA based educational institution that provides an in-depth online transcription training and certification course.

The online course, which is created by industry leaders, enables transcriptionists to gain a well-rounded understanding of the field and become a professional transcriptionist for better job prospects and higher wages.

How did you start your career?

I’ve started my career as a home-based transcriptionist and have experience of 8+ years in transcription industry. I’m currently on a mission to help work from home moms and make them aware of one of the straightforward and lucrative way of earning money from home, i.e., transcription.

I love writing and so I regularly share my words through my blog. At present, I am working as the spokesperson of Transcription Certification Institute.

What inspired your journey?

I was not cut out for regular jobs because of health and family issues. But, I wanted to earn decent money.

Most work from jobs required me to be online during fixed hours. That did not work for me.

A friend referred me to a copywriter who needed transcription services in an extended time frame. This was my first assignment and exposure to the industry. I had issues with grammar and lots of difficulty in understanding accents. My transcriptionist friend gave me the very first lesson in punctuation. It was a great lesson.

That was the aha moment!

I wanted to share it online with all other new transcriptionists. My expertise in transcription was still limited but my interaction with other transcriptionists. And other work from home professionals found that there was no organized information in this industry.

That’s when with the help of the team we created an ebook as would serve as a handbook to transcriptionists. It was called Everything You Need To Know About Work From Home: General Transcription Business Opportunities.’ It’s available on our website for free.

What is the transcription business about?

It’s a dream that allows parents, caregivers and those with disabilities to stay at home and earn.

We call ourselves Team TCI. None of us has complete skills but together we have made a dream into a business that is sustainable, profitable and manages to help others earn more.

We like to think of ourselves as not just one single successful business owner but a team of accomplished transcriptionists and hedonists who have come together to share their expertise on a platform that is globally accessible to all.

Our objective is to make you a better transcriber so that you can earn more at the same time. 

Through our internship program, we ensure that new wannabe transcribers get a foothold in the industry. Our job board aims to bring transcribers and employers together on one platform to make hiring and finding jobs easier.

We are 9+ years old but the journey has only just begun.

What were your biggest challenges when setting up the institute?

How to Write a Successful Business Plan

Together, we had 2,459 dollars to spare!  This was just enough to put up a website and host it for a year.

We had no budget, no marketing plan and no strategy.

More than money we invested our skills, time and above all intent. When we launched, making money was not the objective. The objective was to share information, educate and in the process recover the costs.

We were totally bootstrapped. In fact, we all transcribed extra hours to generate money.

Each year we invested the money earned in the course, it’s upgrade, website upgrade and more. All exams are manually graded and that is expensive.

What do you offer on the website and who can benefit from it?

We offer a course in general transcription.

Our course is for anyone who wants to work from the comfort of their home, enjoy flexible timings and the ability to choose workload. The course is very popular with parents of young children who want to be around when they grow up, ex-serviceman with disabilities, single moms and others who want to work from home.

Some would say that there is nothing to be learned in general transcription but that would not be true. I did start out without training and if it not had been for the help I received my career would not have been successful.

In fact, as the popularity of transcription as a career option grows getting a foothold in the industry is becoming tough. That is why we came up with an internship program that gives hand on experience to new transcriptionists and exposure to the industry.

The job board benefits them by bringing employers and transcriptionists on the same platform.

What’s one thing you do to unwind?

We were introduced to meditation a few years back and to unwind we like to meditate.

What’s your favorite book?

It keeps on changing but time and again for inspiration, I find myself reaching out to The Alchemist by Paul Coelho. Never stop dreaming! Give context to your dreams!

Check out the story of how one guy went from a work at home transcriptionist to setting up a transcription institute and help others start working from home.