Answering a call or dealing with frustrated customers can quickly ruin your day. When someone is complaining, venting, and even cursing at you, it’s challenging to help them and even more to want to help them.
Every business owner should always appreciate the importance of a good and positive customer experience.
Poor and lousy service can significantly impact your brand, causing your possible buyers to look elsewhere. It is well known that bad service cost business everywhere billions of dollars every year.
There are many strategies to properly deliver good customer service and how to respond when things aren’t going as your client expects. First, you will need to look at what good vs. lousy customer service looks like.
Good Customer Service Vs. Bad Customer Service
What is bad customer service? When a business does not meet customer expectations in terms of response time, quality services, and overall customer experience.
What is good customer service? Maintaining a positive attitude, fast and creative problem-solving policies, quickly responding to clients’ feedback, personalized service, and more.
Let’s review the five essential points that can make a huge difference in how good or bad customer service can be.
Using Negative Language
Correct language and tone can help prevent many bad days and greatly benefit your business.
Customers want to feel as if their service provider has the answer to every inquiry they can come up with, so just saying “I don’t know” about something they ask is considered bad service.
Bad Attitudes and Rude Behavior
It isn’t just about knowing something – you must also care about how you speak. Dealing with people while angry or frowning is not part of a good customer experience.
Everyone can have good and bad days, but make sure everyone on your team remains professional and polite when dealing with frustrated customers.
Lack of Empathy
When a product or service isn’t working as it should, people will expect an apology on behalf of your company and an immediate attempt to solve the problem as fast as possible.
If you or your employee cannot empathize with the client, acknowledge responsibility, and offer a solution, this may (and in most cases will) aggravate them more. Therefore, consider measuring how your employees deal with this.
Not Having a Direct Answer
When you redirect customers to the website or put them on hold for too long, things can go bad quickly. Optimize your response times and implement protocols to prevent this from happening.
Respect Their Input
Let’s face it, the “customer is always right” days are over, but that doesn’t mean they can’t express their opinion. On the contrary, customers’ opinions are the most valuable information you can get.
However, it is important to respect what they say, even if you disagree with it. There’s no need to disrespect someone because they think differently.
Strategies for Delivering Good Customer Service
Every company deals with customers in its way, but there are some excellent practices than can help you improve your service. Let’s check some of them.
Listen and Understand Customers’ Needs
Let the customer speak and pay close attention to what they say. Even if you know the solution before they finish, interrupting them is not good. It’ll make your team look impatient, and you can’t listen to another person if you speak too.
It’s always better to wait until they finish because you never know what new information they give that can alter the case.
Be Friendly and Courteous
Always consider starting your interactions on a friendly note when dealing with customers. If your company activity allows it, consider engaging in small talk: ask them how they’re doing, or make a comment about the recent football game.
If the situation is tense and you’re responding to a complaint, you may want to avoid this.
Be Proactive & Responsive
People want companies to be proactive in reaching out to them.
If you already know some of your products or services will affect any of your clients through back-ordered situations or website issues, be proactive and reach out to every single one to explain the problem.
Don’t forget to provide a fast and alternative solution, if there is one. Of course, this situation will not make your customers happy, but they will thank you for letting them know.
E-mails, text messages, calls, or even social media, are options to reach clients that seem endless these days.
Request feedback, ask their opinion about a new product or service, and ask them to complete a survey or follow up after a visit.
Customers always appreciate this strategy. Especially if the follow-up is to solve a problem, they have expressed in the past.
Treat Customers with Respect
Happy customers return to continue buying your product or services and even refer you to their family and friends, but if respect is off the table, it isn’t going to be easy to please them.
To make your customers feel respected, remember to listen actively, do what you promise and always tell them the truth.
Keep Customers Informed
Let your customers know when you’re acting on their case, keep them updated with the process, and tell them precisely what you’re doing to solve their issue and why you are doing it.
It also helps to know how long it will take to solve it. In this case, being honest about the time is always better. Do not give a reduced time expecting everything to go accordingly.
Instead, you can and have to be honest about the time, letting the customer know if there is a possibility of change and compromise yourself to inform them.
Everyone loves to be appreciated. Personalized messages, e-mails, or gifts will make your customers return to your company.
Consider offering personalized promotions on holidays or significant dates to your customers, and always thank them for their fidelity.
If they see that everything is transactional, they’ll keep it that way, but if you build your relationship in trust, they will also trust you and your brand.
How to Handle Frustrated Customers
Most of the time, angry customers aren’t expressing frustration with you. Instead, it’s the situation that makes them angry. However, being unable to deal with this situation can worsen everything in seconds.
When a frustrated customer comes with an issue, it’s imperative to apply techniques that allow you to ease the situation and provide a better customer experience.
Acknowledge Their Frustration
Refrain from jumping straight into solving the problem. Instead, take a moment to validate your customer’s emotions. Always remember first to consider the human side of the situation.
Try something simple like “I understand” or “You are right.”
Keep it personal. The customers do not care about who made a mistake, only how it affects them. However, sometimes knowing what happened can calm the client down.
Communicate using your body and let the customer know they have your full attention.
Nod your head, use every opportunity to verbalize that you’re listening by using words like “of course” or “I see,” and whatever you do, never interrupt them. They’re angry – this is their time to express what they want.
Apologize and Offer Solutions
The most effective approach to engaging with hostile customers is to apologize. Of course, it is uncomfortable, and you may be temp not to do it, but an empathic and genuine apology is the first thing to do.
It is critical to determine what the customer is upset about and what your next steps will be to prevent it from happening again.
You should also be brief. Offering many explanations and one apology will not make them happy either. Do not waste your angry client’s time.
Be Patient and Stay Calm
Repeat as many times as you need: “It’s not about you, do not take it personally.”
The customer is upset about the product or service that your company didn’t correctly provide, and you’re just the person to deal with that frustration.
Even the angriest person will disarm if you address them composedly. Remember, they are the ones who are mad, and you are in your not-so-calm work day. Stay calm, and you’ll see how fast the heat goes down.
If you notice you can control the situation, or it seems to be escalating beyond your area of control, don’t hesitate to ask for help from your manager or the security officer in the building.
Train Your Team
Having good customer service skills is imperative these days. A well-trained employee can help you save a lot of time and money, plus it’ll keep your customers happy.
When it comes to training your team to deal with frustrated customers, consider these points:
- Establish clear rules and guidelines. It will help them know what to do in most situations and when to ask for help.
- Train them to stay vigilant. Being able to read individuals to spot red flags is a great deal. Have them look for it and try to prevent unhappy customers.
- Don’t hold back any knowledge. Always share what you know with all your team.
Good customer service is a critical element in every business. It encourages loyalty, and a customer committed to your business is the best way to increase your sales.
Having good customer service skills, you can build a strong culture and a reputation that will maximize your brand identity in no time.