How to win over difficult customers

4 min read

Tips and tricks to give you the confidence to handle those customer situations we all dread.

Exceptional customer service helps to build loyalty through trust, commitment, clarity and reliability. It encourages your customer to return for more help and recommend your business to others.

 

This blog is designed to provide you tips and tricks to give you the confidence to handle those difficult phone calls we all fear, improve customer satisfaction and reduce handle times.

 

Phone Calls

 

As soon as you answer a call, your voice and your brand is in the spotlight. The customer’s entire experience, relies heavily on the techniques you use to convey your message. A simple sentence said without passion or clumsily can lead to dissatisfaction.

 

Smiling helps your voice sound friendly, warm and receptive. Your customer will feel they’re in safe hands; your approachability may even encourage them to open up even more.


A smiley disposition is not always easy to maintain, especially when a customer launches 
into an attack before you have finished your greeting. Just try to remain as positive as possible for the entire duration of the call, even if you are reduced to listening for most of the time.

 

Complaints

 

Customers want you to listen and understand their complaint. They hope that you are willing to take care of the problem to their satisfaction.


→ Say thank you

When a customer brings a complaint to your attention, be thankful. Even if they do it in a less-than-desirable way. As the old saying goes, “We Can’t Fix What We Don’t Know is Broken.” Moreover, improper handling of a customer complaint can be costly to your business.


→ Stay calm

Keep in mind that the issue is not personal; they are not attacking you directly but rather the situation at hand. ‘Winning’ the confrontation accomplishes nothing. Customer specialists who remain in control of their emotions leads with from a position of strength. While it is perfectly natural to get defensive when attacked, choose to be the professional and keep your cool.


→ Actively listen

Let the customer blow off steam.  Do not interrupt. As the customer vents (and sees you are not reacting), they will begin to cool off. The customer needs to get into a calm frame of mind before they will be receptive to your solution.


→ Acknowledge the problem

Let the customer know you hear what he or she is saying. An excellent opening line would be, “So, if I understand correctly…”. Usually, the customer will respond with “That’s right” or “Exactly.” By repeating to the customer what you think you heard, they will feel you are on their side.

 

If there has been a misunderstanding, show empathy for the customer by saying, “I can see how that would be incredibly frustrating for you.” You are not necessarily agreeing with what the customer is saying, but respecting how he or she perceives and feels about the situation.


→ Get the facts

After listening, take the initiative in the conversation, begin asking questions. Be careful not to speak scripted replies, but use this as an opportunity to start a genuine conversation, building a trusting relationship with your customer. To help you understand their situation, get as many details as possible.


→ Be confident

When you sound like you really know your stuff, customers argue less. If you are not 100% certain of something, the sub-verbal “uh...” or allowing the tone of your voice to rise at the ends of sentences (as though you’re asking a question rather than making a statement) tells the customer that he or she has found a weakness. This makes them more likely to challenge you.


→ Offer a solution

This can happen when you have all the information. Take it upon yourself to take note of what you can and cannot do within your business guidelines. Making a promise you cannot commit to will only set you back. When offering a solution, be courteous and respectful. Let the customer know you are willing to take ownership of the issue, even if it was out of your control. Tell the customer what you are going to do to solve the problem.


→ Keep your promises

Aim to resolve the complaint quickly. This will make the customer feel as though their problem is being treated as a priority. If there are any delays in solving the request, keep the customer informed.


→ Follow up

The follow up will be a case by case basis. When the call ended on a bad note then a follow up may just provoke further aggression, however we mostly find that customers really appreciate a phone call or email. A simple gesture like this could result in a future referral or a positive word-of-mouth marketing recommendation.

 

Poor communication, trying to upsell too many products, placing the customer on hold for too long and bouncing back and forth between staff may leave the customer feeling stressed and unfulfilled.

 

Remember you’re not alone, every business experiences angry customers. By following these guidelines, leave a lasting impression on every phone call and customer interaction.

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