5 Tips for Handling Customer Complaints the Right Way
Working in any customer facing industry is tough and understanding how to handle customers the right way is a must. These tips are here to give you some ideas of how to do just this.
- Work For The Customer
Here at Answerfirst.com we believe that the customer’s needs come before our own. This is a belief we hold dearly and lads our customer interactions. What this means is that, for all intents and purposes, our support team works for clients and should be looking for ways to get their needs and desires met. This also means looking for long term solutions that will ensure no more attention needs to be applied here.
- Leverage Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is another skill that is gaining importance in the customer support sector. This allows a professional to detect and understand the emotions within the customer’s complaints and respond constructively and intuitively to solve these. Getting this skill just right will allow the most irate customer to be soothed and thus ameliorate reprisals in the future.
You may have noticed that there will be some customers that have no patience and others that are more amicable. When dealing with especially hostile customers, it is important to have these emotionally intelligent people at the ready to recognize the needs and respond. Customers are not necessarily trying to antagonize your support team or cause them stress, but they have their worries, concerns and time sensitive issues they are trying to address. The right measure of emotional intelligence is what is needed to address customers’ needs while looking beyond their behavior.
- Avoid making apologies
It does seem odd to not apologize given the fact that your customer’s complaints may have cost them peace of mind and may be very legitimate. But, business is business and you can’t apologize for things over which you had not control. Apologies, no matter how demure, will never actually make an impression on your irate client, they want solutions. The best approach, stop apologizing and thank your client for their patience while you connect them to their ideal solution.
It was not until I started to practice this myself in my own business that I learned the power of avoiding problems by not apologizing. Then I realized that the belly-up response of apologizing only made the client more irate by admitting that there was indeed a problem. If anything, the apology gives your client the right to be angry as it is an admission of incompetence.
But, taking the “thank you” approach opened up a different avenue to explore. Rather than instigating further wrath, my thank you flattered the client for their maturity and understanding of the dynamics of business. It is easier to maintain the appearance of professionality when you are not apologizing every 5 minutes.
- Use positive language
Taking the time to refine the vocabulary, grammar and diction of your customer support team can make all the difference in the world. For this reason, it is important to use only positive language as this will encourage a better customer reaction. Positive language encourages positive language and your team will be able to defuse certain escalations by using language that promotes confidence in their capacity.
Let’s take a good example of the rep working on the phone with a customer and they just can’t seem to figure out what the problem is. After more than ten minutes of questions and answers and no solutions, the rep can tell the client is getting angry. At this point, thy might have the reasonable impulse to say something like “apologies for the delay, I understand things can be frustrating”. This response will only add fervor to any feelings of frustration by validating them. If they were a little annoyed, now they will be extremely annoyed.
A better response would be something like “Thank you for staying with me! These things do take a bit of time!” This positive response throws the soothing light of awareness and equanimity on a potential fire. The use of the phrase, “a bit” can also reduce the apparent severity of the situation and reminds the customer that though time is passing, they are on the right path to a solution. The confidence your reps provide in this being a “minor” issue, gives the customer full confidence they are dealing with an authority.
- Adopt the right customer service tools for the job.
As your support team continues to grow and develop their service, they will need the right tools to keep up with the job and increasing demand for customer support that affects every expanding company. This includes the proper desks, chairs and ticketing systems that help to properly process the workload across the array of support reps. This way more effort and focus can be placed on the incoming customer calls and less on the minutiae of running an office.