How to Handle Difficult Customers and Stay Sane

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

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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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