Providing exceptional customer experiences is something that an increasing number of businesses strive for. Providing delight and putting the customer first are critical, but they are not always easy.
Customer expectations are high, especially in the world of eCommerce. Things go wrong from time to time, no matter how hard you try to keep your customers happy. Products break in transit, deliveries are delayed, and complaints are filed.
But the good news is that complaints aren’t always a bad thing, and they can often lead to positive outcomes if you know how to turn them around with excellent customer service.
Recognizing the significance of a complaint
Dealing with an irate customer is an opportunity to learn and to turn a bad situation into a good customer experience. How you respond to an irate customer can make or break the customer’s perception of your brand.
Rather than being afraid of an angry customer, use the situation to improve your product or service and build a stronger relationship with your customer.
Practice active listening rather than passive listening. Active listening means concentrating on everything the customer is saying so you have a clear understanding of why they’re upset. Passive listening entails only absorbing a portion of the message and failing to pay close attention to the emotions underlying their communication.
“Most people do not listen with the intention of understanding; they listen with the intention of responding.”
Steve Covey is the author of the book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”
Be present and give your full attention to the customer. Before responding, read the customer’s inquiry twice. Concentrate on the words they’re saying rather than the anger they’re expressing. To demonstrate that you are actively listening to the customer, paraphrase their complaint, ask clarifying questions, and do not interrupt them. This is frequently the most effective way to deal with irate customers at the outset of a situation.
When it comes to converting an angry customer into a happy one, the first step is to listen. It is impossible to change the situation if you do not listen.
An apology makes the angry customer feel heard and understood. It diffuses and anger and allows you to begin to re-establish trust. Not only that, but pilot studies have found that the mere act of apologizing has reduced lawsuits, settlement, and defense costs. You need to apologize to customers regardless of fault. Certainly, the apology needs to be carefully worded. Heres an example of a sincere, yet careful apology:
Please accept my sincere and unreserved apology for any inconvenience this may have caused you.
3. Kill Them Softly With Diplomacy.
This simple phrase has never failed me: Clearly, weve upset you and I want you to know that getting to the bottom of this is just as important to me as it is to you. When you say this, anger begins to dissipate. Youve addressed the anger directly and non defensively and you havent been pulled into the drama of the attack.
4. Go into Computer Mode.
To use Computer Mode you take on the formalities of a computer. You speak generally, without emotion, and you don’t take the bait your angry or difficult customer is throwing you. Your words, tone, and attitude are completely impersonal and neutral – (Think of the automated response system you speak to when you call your wireless phone company or bank.)
This “computer mode” response deflects, diffuses, and disarms angry customers because you don’t add fuel to the fire by giving your difficult customer what they want -an emotional reaction. When you don’t take the bait, the difficult customer is forced to stop dead in their tracks. And that means you regain control (and confidence).
The Computer Mode Approach In Action
Let’s say your customer says:
“You don’t give a d*** about customers. Once you get a customer locked into a contract, the service aspect is over.”
While it may be tempting to fuel the fire with an equally hostile response such as “What’s your problem, creep?” don’t take the bait. If you do take the bait, the situation will only escalate and nothing productive or positive will result. A computer mode response might look like this:
“I’m sure there are some people who think we don’t care about servicing customers.”
“People get irritated when they don’t immediately get the help they need.”
“It’s very annoying to experience a delay in service response.”
“Nothing is more distressing than feeling like you’re being passed around when all you want is help.”
And then you stop -like a locked up computer.
No matter how uncomfortable the verbal abuse is or how ridiculous it becomes, continue to respond without emotion. This tactic works because it is neutral, doesn’t take the bait, and because it is unexpected. The difficult customer wants to throw you off, make you lose control, and to get you to respond emotionally. When you fail to do each of these things, you actually regain control.
Go into “computer mode” the next time you’re faced with verbal abuse from an irate or unreasonable customer, and I promise you, you’ll quickly regain control —and you’ll have fun with the process.
5. Give this question a shot: Have I done something personally to upset you?… Id like to be a part of the solution.
Of course, you know you havent done anything to upset the customer. You ask this question to force the angry customer to think about his behavior. Often, the mere asking of this question is enough to get the ballistic customer to begin to shift from the right brain to the left brain, where he can begin to listen and rationalize.
6. Show empathy
Empathy can be a powerful tool used to disarm an angry customer and show that you genuinely care about the inconvenience the customer has experienced. Expressing empathy is also good for YOU, as it helps you truly begin to see the problem from the customers perspective/and this perspective will help keep you from losing your cool when your customer gets hot. By letting customers know that you understand why they are upset, you build a bridge of rapport between you and them.
Here are some phrases that express empathy:
That must have been very frustrating for you.
I realize the wait you encountered was an inconvenience.
If I were in your shoes, Im sure Id feel just as you do.
It must have been very frustrating for you have waited five days for your order and for that I am sorry.
7. And finally, heres a tip that works like magic. . Show appreciation for the difficult persons feedback. After your difficult customer has ranted and raved, you can regain control of the conversation by interjecting—not interrupting, but interjecting to thank them for taking the time to give you feedback. You can say something like:
-> Thanks for being so honest.
-> Thanks for taking the time to let us know how you feel.
-> We appreciate customers who let us know when things arent right.
-> Thanks for caring so much.
The reason this tip works so effectively is because the last thing your irate or unreasonable customer expects is for you to respond with kindness and gratitude. Its a shock factor and many times you’ll find that your customer is stunned silent and this is exactly what you want. When the customer is stunned into silence, you get in the drivers seat and steer the conversation in the direction you want it to go.
When you do these things you’ll find that being on the receiving end of verbal abuse doesnt have to be threatening or intimidating. You can come across as confident, composed and strong and most importantly, you’ll regain control of the conversation.
8. Avoid negative language
When dealing with an irate customer, support teams must be skilled in their use of language. Negative language only adds fuel to the fire, whereas positive language can help to calm a tense situation.
Use language that does not imply the customer is wrong or makes them feel isolated. Even if the statements are partially true, the customer does not want to hear them right now. Using positive language, on the other hand, will help instill confidence in the customer and begin to turn a negative situation into a positive one.
It’s easy to subconsciously use negative language. Make sure you avoid this at all costs!
Tips for avoiding negative language
Default to positive words such as “yes”, “absolutely”, “certainly” and “definitely”.
Avoid using words and phrases such as “let me be clear”, “for your information” and “actually”. This tends to make people feel stupid, and can often be seen as aggressive.
It’s difficult to deal with irate customers, but it’s not impossible. The most important thing you can do is allow the customer to express their dissatisfaction. Then, treat them with dignity, patience, and empathy.
Using these tips for dealing with angry customers will put you on the right track, and you’ll be able to turn a bad situation into a good customer experience. At the same time, you will strengthen your relationships with your customers.
courtsey : Edesk