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No matter how well you deliver amazing customer service, you are bound to engage with someone who is irate about goods and/or services sold to them. We’re all far from perfect and sometimes don’t get things right but the power of language is everything when attempting to quell an uproarious customer situation.
Here are a few ideas to maneuver through the anger in order to keep the client (if you deem the relationship worthy of salvation).
* Remain silent…let them speak WITHOUT interrupting. Keep a level head, pay full attention to what is being said, how they are saying it — verbally and nonverbally. It is possible that a problem exists about which you are completely unaware.
* At the right time, choose your words VERY carefully, speak in a low, even, yet compassionate tone to convey empathy with the customer’s point of view. The best way to execute refined patience in volatile situations, is for management and staff to practice via role play — make it a meeting agenda item at least once per month.
* In your response (not retort), make yourself as clear as possible; avoid ANY room for confusion; keep your points succinct and truthful.
* Let go of the need to be right. At the right time of the conversation, offer sincere apologies…even though the customer is NOT always right, don’t pounce on them if they are off base with their facts. If they feel they are being attacked, they will surely fight back.
* Ask what would make the situation right for them…negotiate (by the way, negotiation is obtainable after you show them that you are listening, yielding, and empathetic).
It is up to you to determine what the customer really wants. Does he/she want to bring attention to deficiencies in products/services? An audience at which to vent? Immediate problem resolution?
If possible, do everything to resolve the situation immediately—it will make the customer feel better and you’ll be able to salvage the relationship (if that is your goal).
After three days, send a letter thanking the customer for bringing the matter to your attention. Apologize again and let them know how much you value them and their business. Explain how they helped prevent the same difficulty from happening to other customers.
Make the experience a teachable moment in your customer service training sessions. Teach your team how to embrace the problem—that it is thoroughly understood and never repeated. Meticulously teach the resolution so that your team will know when to be proactive.
It is possible to turn a complaining customer into a loyal client.
Make it a great day!