Unfortunately, disgruntled customers are a fact of life when you work in the customer service field. While it’s easy to get frustrated or upset when the customer on the other end of the phone is upset with you, keeping a cool and calm head is always the best plan. How can you handle a disgruntled customer?
Say My Name
Adding a customer’s name into the conversation personalizes the interaction, which reminds the customer that you are a person just like them on the other end. Repeating a caller’s name back to them in a sympathetic and understanding manner is more effective than saying “ma’am” or “sir.” Many times, tense customer service situations can be handled and diffused by reminding the customer that, just like them, you are just a person on the phone.
This advice sounds particularly cheesy, but smiling immediately improves your mood and the tone of voice that you’re using. If you smile as you speak with someone, your voice will come across calmer and steadier, and be much more likely to reassure the customer. When you speak with a disgruntled customer on the phone, school your features into the most pleasant face you can muster. Customers might not know why you sound so happy and pleasant, but they will notice the difference in your voice.
Know Your Audience
Knowing your audience is important for every call that you take in customer service, but it’s especially important when customers are upset. Does the customer want to get right to the point, or are they interested in chatting about other things while you help them? You should also pay attention to subtle signs that the customer is getting more or less upset, like changes in their tone of voice. Their knowledge also plays a role in how you can most effectively help them, so don’t talk down to every customer without considering some might know more than you!
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