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Handling Tricky Customer Support Situations

Friday, April 12, 2019


I would start this article with a popular business quote from Sam Walton "There is only one boss, The Customers they can fire everybody in the company, from the Chairman on down simply by spending their money somewhere else”

From the quote above, we can all agree that the lifeblood of every successful business is a happy and satisfied customer. Hence having a pool of satisfied customers are the biggest assets for any company and handling them is no easy gig. There are many hurdles in handling a customer in a satisfactory way; most been the unexpected occurrences that might pop up suddenly. The main aspect of getting the job done is to put in mind that you are handling different people with different perspectives and that can be massive in itself. Business aside, we can all agree that people are sometimes difficult to handle. So if you want to get it right, you must be ready to interact with a wide variety of people, from various backgrounds with different socio-economic statures and different psychological/emotional imprints. You need to adopt a lot of patience, spontaneity, and positivity in order to handle the different types of customers and issues that might come your way on a daily basis.

A customer support scenario is a situation that could involve an angry customer, a frustrated customer or a confused customer. This means taking a critical look at all of your processes and identifying some moments (maybe some that have happened in the past) that could cause some hiccups.

To have a clear understanding of what to expect and how to handle it properly, we would be discussing how to turn a bad customer service situation into an opportunity to improve your business

Listen. Talking over the customer or arguing with them is a strong No. Let the customer speak, let them air out their grievances even when you know the next thing they are going to say, and even if they may not have all the information or be mistaken, just let them express themselves with any rude interruptions.

Be empathic with your customers. As you listen to the customer, take the opportunity to build a rapport with the customer. Put yourself in their shoes. Repeat back their source of concern and show them that you understand their position and situation. If you can identify with a customer's issue, it helps calm them down, making the customer will feel better understood.

Don’t raise your voice. Don’t ever raise your voice when speaking to the customer, If the customer’s voice gets louder, start speaking more slowly and in a lower tone. Your calm demeanor will reflect on them and will help them to settle down. As you approach the situation with a calm, clear mind, unaffected by the customer's tone or volume, the customer’s anger will generally dissipate.

Always assume that you are being watched. This is an important tip, Pretend you are not speaking only to the customer but to an audience that is watching the interaction. This shift in perspective will provide you with an emotional buffer should in case the customer gets verbally abusive, allowing you to think more clearly when responding to the customer. Always keep in mind, an unruly customer can be a negative referral for your business, assuming they will repeat the conversation to other potential customers, so do ensure that you have done your possible best to address their concerns in the most calming way possible.

Know when to give in. Drawing an early compromise in the favor of the customer gives you more time to nurture a productive customer relationship with the customer rather than having a lengthy call with the customer that leaves you with an unhappy customer and an emotionally drained you.

Control your anger. A crisis can strike at any time. You often don’t see them coming; that’s why crises can be so damaging. When the customer is being verbally abusive, take a deep breath and continue as if you didn't hear them. Responding in kind will only escalate the situation in a negative direction, not solving anything at the end. Just keep reminding the customer that you are there to help them and their best immediate chance of resolving the situation - often this simple statement will help defuse the situation.

Don’t take things personally. Speak to the issue at hand and do not get caught in the web, even when the customer does. Always remember to gently guide the conversation back to the issue at hand and how you intend to resolve it, ignoring every personal comment from the customer.

Add a little bit of matured psychology. Everyone has their bad days, so kindly forgive the imperfection. The customers’ outburst might be from having a bit of domestic drama to work pressure to a bit of emotional distress. Try to help make the customer’s day by being a pleasant, calming and understanding voice for the customer.

Always keep to your promise. Even when you promised an update that you don't have at the moment, give the customer a call at the scheduled time anyway. This gives the customer a sense of reassurance, knowing fully well that you were not trying to dodge them and they will gladly appreciate the follow-up.

In conclusion, dealing with customers is not always an easy task. But always have at the back of your mind that a good customer service experience is vital to the building up of your business reputation. So when next you have yourself a tricky customer service scenarios, always remember to be patient, empathic, and maintain a problem-solving mindset at all times.





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