Help! How do I deal with customer complaints over the phone?
Whether you’re a company or an individual contractor trying to provide a service, it’s never easy dealing with customer complaints over the phone. There are a multitude of reasons why customers can be frustrated. It’s our job to put our customers at ease when we aren’t able to prevent these frustrations. Customers calling in with complaints are generally already frustrated and that’s difficult to prevent, but what you can control is how you respond.
When a customer is expressing their frustrations in an unpleasant way, it may be your first response to respond negatively. In order to address the complaint it’s important to put those feelings aside and listen to the customer carefully to understand the root of the problem. This will help to put the customer in a relaxed state so you can move forward in an effective way.
This is no easy task of course, but we’ve broken it down into several easy steps to help you through this process while providing the best service to your customers.
Relax the Customer
When a customer calls with a complaint they are in a state of frustration and anger. They’re in no state to come to a logical solution. Allow your customer some time to express their frustrations and stay calm, patient, and polite. This seems hard but the customer will respond the way you respond to the situation. If you are also negative and angry it will be difficult to have a professional conversation and reach a point of resolution.
If you need to take some deep breaths and focus on ways to address the complaints.
Empathize with Your Customer
Whether you understand their frustrations or not, try putting yourself in their shoes. If your customers feel understood, they are more likely to respond positively and trust that you are working to help them. This is your time to really listen to your customer and see where you can alleviate their struggle and make their experience with your service better. At this point, you can recite back to your customer what you understand to be their problem to make sure you are both on the same page. From here you can communicate possible solutions and how they can move forward.
If you cannot resolve their issue then apologize and explain why. You may have certain policies you must follow but assure them you are trying your best within the power you have.
Encourage Them to Reach Out
You may not be able to solve their problem this time, but encourage the customer to reach out when they do experience issues and frustrations. If the customer feels like you’re on their team they are more likely to be less frustrated and angry when they experience issues in the future. Knowing someone they trust is there to try and resolve their issues will give them peace of mind. No matter how big or small the issue is they should feel comfortable reaching out.
What Not to Do
Don’t Get Angry
It can seem impossible sometimes to keep your cool when someone is yelling at you over the phone. But remember, the key to handling an irate customer over the phone is to not react. The more you react the more they will feed off your reaction. This will only keep you from advancing the conversation and solving their problem.
Don’t Take Things Personally
With all said and done, you can’t take the remarks of the customers personally. They are not angry with you, they’re angry with the problem they’re experiencing with the service or process. Remember what is important and focus on understanding the problem.