3 pm and for half an hour now you’re stuck still in the slow moving line of the complaints section of a utility company.
Suddenly from somewhere upfront you hear obvious squeals of what could just be the dawning of a fascinating cat fight.
People buzz and peer at what could be going on and curious, curious, so do you. True enough the costumer being attended to by a frazzled costumer complaints representative is having it out with a lady in a polka-dot skirt.
You catch drifts of heated exchanges but nothing makes sense. Sighing, you think how thank goodness you weren’t in the shoes of the stressed costumer complaints representative.
Customers who get upset and rile up do so on two accounts.
First, is when they’re expectation of a quality product or service isn’t met. Second, when they feel ignored.
Anyone at the receiving end of a complaint would do well to keep the given points in mind, plus the fact that people in the act of voicing a complaint are in a heightened sensitive state of emotion.
So, what to do when you are confronted by a complaining scenario? Read on how to handle an irate customer.
Present a Professional Image
Breath. Detach yourself from what could most likely be a negative scenario by consciously shifting your mind to a higher plane.
Sounds tough? Not really. Just a little play with imagination.
Think of yourself as a doctor with an ailing patient that needs your care. Or, you can think of yourself as parent who is faced with a child who needs soothing and reassurance.
Say to yourself that your job is important and the help you extend will affect someone’s life for the better. This frame of thought will give you mental strength and a genuine willfulness to hear out even the worst complainers.
Greet and Smile
Greet, smile and verbally assure the irate costumer that you are ready to hear and help her/him. Make sure your body language projects attention.
Nothing can be more upsetting to a costumer than having to deal with a company representative whose demeanor shows indifference.
Hear the complaint and take notes if necessary. Ask questions. If the irate customer is on a level of distress (using angry words), remind yourself that the anger is not a personal attack on you as the company representative.
Simply remind the costumer, that you will do what you can to address the situation.
Use the costumer’s name when conversing. People like to hear the sound of their name.
Extend Genuine Sympathy
Apologize for the inconvenience the costumer is experiencing and lay-out possible solutions to the problem.
Make sure that offered solutions are within a time frame.
This will give your words weight and will reduce if not eliminate the permeating tension.
Close With a Thank You
There is a saying that goes “the customer is always right” which is a half truth of course, because logically nobody can be right all the time. Nevertheless, this espouses that in all cases; never tell your costumer that he is wrong.
You may win the argument with all glory and splendor, but you sure will lose the business.
Instead, thank your costumer for his or her time (a business complaint is still a business transaction) and reassure that situation will be handled promptly.
As an added bonus, the best way to put a Class A oomph on your service is to also reassure your costumer that “feedback” will be available the soonest.