“Oh no!” thinks Jason, “This is a disaster, I wish this woman would listen to me once!”
Jason was the star performer agent last month. He has been anxious about losing that title ever since. His anxiety is justified, he doesn’t stay calm when irate customers blame him for their issues.
Do some of your agents find themselves stuck in similar situations? You know they should use common sense, be customer-focused and a bit more patient. But it seems impossible when the person on the other side of the line is yelling for no justifiable reason.
We have put together this blog post to help you deal with irate customers. Calls can be difficult, but your customer service skills can rise about tough calls. Here’s how to handle irate customers like a pro.
Step #1: Allow Venting
Most angry customers want someone to listen to their plight. They just want to vent out. And once they’ve explained all the possible reasons for them being upset with your product or service, they calm down. They’re more open to the solutions you have to offer. Listening to angry customers may be hard, or down-right irritating, but it will solve half the problems.
Remember, you should not just listen but listen carefully, even take notes of every possible detail and summarize the whole situation before offering a solution. You can start by saying,
“We appreciate your feedback, Sir…”
“Thank you so much for letting us know this, Mr. James…”
This will not only help you sound considerate but also ensure that you and the customer are on the same page, and you understand their needs.
Do not interrupt a venting customer but respond with “Uh huh”, “okay” or “yeah” to make your presence felt. Be as tender and attentive as possible. If you have a question, note it down and ask questions only when the person is finished.
Step #2: Ask for a Solution or Offer One
In most cases, understanding what your customers expect from you or proposing a possible solution to their issue makes them feel important, understood and dampers the furious tone. There are possibilities that an unsatisfied customer has already decided what’s going to make him feel better right before they decided to call and complain.
In such situations, placating your customers is a bit more important than offering a solution. Remember, you’re in a business to serve customers. Plus, you do not want an unsatisfied customer to reach social media or any reviewing platforms. Keeping calm is much easier than trying to clear up a mess caused by a bad review.
Asking the irate customer for a solution may backfire and may further anger the customer. To avoid escalating the situation, be ready with a solution. Be flexible with the rules if necessary. If you do not have a solution right away and need to consult your boss, ask them politely if they can hold the line or a convenient time to call back. Also, if you make a promise, make sure you keep it. Call back at the promised hour even if you haven’t found a solution yet. Provide practical timelines and keep your customers updated. These tiny little steps can go a long way in building a healthy relationship and earning some positive reviews.
You need your customer to trust you. Your words, and more importantly your tone, will help you ease out the situation. Convirza, a leading call tracking company, has researched some interesting stats in this area:
On the phone, 86% of our communication is tone whereas words account to just 14% of our communication. (Source)
During a face-to-face communication:
– 7% of spoken communication is the words we actually speak
– 38% of spoken communication is the way in which they are spoken (tone of voice)
– 55% of spoken communication is the facial expression and body language (Source)
These stats show that when offering a solution, make sure you use the right tone.
Bonus Tips to Deal with Irate Customers:
#1: Don’t Take It Personally
The irate customer’s words might suggest otherwise, but remember that they are mad about the product or service, not personally at you. Remembering that they are not blaming you will help you maintain your calm.
#2: Apologize If Necessary
You do not have to apologize if you or the company was not at the fault in that particular situation. But you should if the company has failed the customer. A simple meaningful sorry can calm down even the worst of the storms.
#3: Take Some Time Out
Even if you handle an irate customer in the best way possible, it is a stressful situation. If you do not take a few minutes to cool off after the call, it’s likely that you will carry forward your stress to the next call or customer.
Even the world’s best technology cannot replace a human compassionate touch. People know how to care. You can express genuine concern and understanding. If you stay customer-focused and use common sense with a touch of compassion, handling irate customers can be as smooth as warm butter.