How to Improve Your Customer Service Skills (when dealing with unhappy customers)
Tactics for Success
How to improve your customer service skills when the customer is irate is always a bit challenging.
Responding to hate mail…
“You are the worst company I have bought from!” – writes the client. Oops, bossss! What should I write back?
(Here is a book that will help your customer service reps.)
All is well when it ends well. And until it ends be sure not to panic; no matter how bad it seems. Your customers only want you to do your best when they complain. They can see things that you might miss and every complaint will give you insight on how to improve your business.
Here are some tips to help with the handling of complaints:
• Be empathetic and calm them down
– which means that you should acknowledge the person’s feelings (you don’t have to agree with them to do that). In the NLP practices this is called “to build rapport.” For example, you can say: “I understand how upsetting that might be…”
• Do not defend yourself
– you will surely want to say something to defend yourself – don’t! Getting defensive will never help. The issue is not about who is right, it is about helping a disappointed customer and keeping their repeated business. Learning how to improve your customer service skills is an ongoing process.
• Take responsibility
– no matter whether you are guilty or not, you still represent your company. Therefore, you should take the “blame”. By doing that, you emphasize the company’s trustworthiness and reliability. If you can’t handle the issue alone, be sure to hand the customer off in a classy manner to the person who can. Absolutely make sure that staff does not play “football” with the customer. Get them immediately to the person who CAN and WILL handle the problem. Here is an earlier post on dealing with angry customers.
• Make commitments
– only in that way the customer is assured that something will be done in a precise time interval. You have to state your actions clearly, for example: “Our team will come to your place tomorrow at 10:00 am.”
• Make an offer before they ask for a refund
– that’s what most of your customers say in cases of dissatisfaction: “We want our money back.” But that is the least you want, because it leaves your customer disappointed in your company. You will have to be more clever and offer them something of value for their trouble and time before they ask a refund.
• Do more
– every company can do things in the regular (mediocre) way. We are sure you can come up with something more. After all, the complaining customer only wants you to be better, and you can use this interaction to prove that you can.
• Walk the talk
– make sure to do what you have promised.
• Follow up
– check back with them after some time has passed. Phone them or send an email and ask if they need anything else and if the arrangement you made works properly. That way you show them that you care and can also trigger positive word-of-mouth referrals.
At the end, let’s use the statistics as a guide: as a general rule, about seven of ten complaining guests will do business with you again if you resolve the complaint to your customer’s satisfaction.