No matter how good your customer service is, sometimes those interactions will go wrong.
Maybe you can’t fix the problem or maybe the customer becomes angry and your agent doesn’t know why. These things happen, but instead of writing them off as bad experiences and moving on, take the opportunity to try to fix the problem first to salvage the customer relationship.
Here are some ways you can try to fix the interaction:
1. Stay Calm and Start Over
One of the trickiest parts of customer service can be staying calm when the customer is angry or yelling. By training your agents to stay composed, you can fix a lot of problems before they escalate further.
When a customer becomes angry, train your agents to take a breath and ask the customer to start over from the beginning.
That may sound counter-intuitive, since the customer is already angry, but your agents should stress that they want to start over to ensure they understand the problem so that they can try every option available to resolve it.
The customer will appreciate the effort to understand, and retelling the story will give your agents a moment to breathe before trying to find another solution.
2. Really Listen
Teach agents shouldn’t listen to the customer’s complaint while working on another project. They need to really listen. They may find that the customer isn’t describing the problem that they thought, or may give new details they didn’t hear before, and a whole new list of options may open.
A great way for agents to show they’re listening and get the best details is to ask questions that summarize what the customer is saying, “So you’re saying…” or “Let me make sure I have this right…”, this will put the customer at ease because they know your agents understand the problem.
And let’s face it, customers may not always explain their problems eloquently. This gives them a chance to rephrase issues that your agent may not have understood the first time.
3. Try to see from their perspective
One of the best ways to empathize with your customer is to try to see the problem from his or her perspective. Is a software problem impacting his or her business? Is not having an item in stock affecting a gift your customer needs to give soon?
While many problems don’t seem huge from the customer service side of things, if your agents imagine themselves in these positions, they instantly understand more of the frustration of the customer, and this opens up creative alternative solutions that may indirectly solve the problem.
If that item is still out of stock, maybe agents can help the customer find a new one, or maybe they can help him or her find a way to work around the software problem until it can be fully resolved.
4. Make It Right
The obvious solution to customer service problems is to fix the problem, but that isn’t always possible.
If the problem seems unfixable, don’t just give up. Try to improve the situation by trying alternative options, or offer the customer some other solution or benefit, such as a discount on future services or a replacement item.
While it may not be the ideal solution, it shows the customer that he or she is valued and your business does what’s right.
If the problem isn’t immediately solvable, commit to finding a solution and let the customer know your team is working on it in the meantime by giving commitment dates for follow up conversations on the progress of the problem.
5. Talk through the steps
Many frustrations in customer service stem from the customer’s perception that agents aren’t doing anything to help. If your agents talk through the steps they are taking on to try to resolve the problem, customers are often satisfied that something is being done for them.
Many times, customers just want to know that you’ve tried everything. Instead of silence, let the customer know what materials are being referenced, or that the agent is communicating with a manager to find options.
This way, your agents can also show the customer that they are working hard on the issue, even if they can’t resolve it.
You Can’t Please Everyone
Some customers can’t be pleased and it isn’t the agent’s fault.
Often, angry customers are not really angry because of the problem. The issue is the final straw in a messy situation or the complicating factor when life is hard. So make sure your agents knows not to take it personally if the customer can’t be satisfied and every option has been tried. Sometimes you really do have to just move on.