How to deal with difficult customers….

  The first thing to know in dealing with a difficult customer or any customer for that matter, is that you are ultimately  in control of this call.      

        Imagine yourself  going for a drive. You determine when you leave, where you’re going, the direction you’re going to take, the speed at which you’re going to drive and the sites that you’re going to see.  I’ll tell you right here and right now that emotional intelligence will come in real handy when you’re dealing with a rude customer.  Again, emotional intelligence is basically using the art of diplomacy with people.  That is simply just knowing how to deal with them sensitively but yet still be effective!  

        When a rude or upset customer comes on your line the first thing you want to do is resist your innate impulse to rebut them.      

          I’ve talked about this before; one of the main, major skills you need as a customer service professional is the ability to listen! When a customer calls into your line and they’re upset or frustrated, one of the things they may have already pre-supposed, is that all you’re going to do is provide them with a bunch of excusess. The first thing on your to do list in this situation is to hear them out.  At this point in the conversation it is crucial that you DO NOT interrupt them. This accomplishes more than one objective:  Number one, it keeps them from cutting you off every time you say something; keeping you from getting upset by the customer. Secondly, it gives the customer the sense that you actually care about their concern. Thirdly, it puts control in your hands.  Why you ask? It’s because they don’t control the conversation, you do.  You’re the one who’s driving remember? Avoid speaking in an alarming or condescending tone; though tempting this maybe.  What I’ve found in my experience, is that customers are not always rude because they just want to be. People in general want to be nice. But if you come across rude because they are rude, this only worsens the situation. Sometimes people are just having a bad day.  They don’t mean to be rude but not everyone knows how to control their emotions. (Consider yourself, have you ever done this when you called in to customer service? )     

         This is where we customer service professionals come in. Sometimes customers can be rude because they have spoken with other rude customer people in the past and they already have their guard up. All they want is viable solution. This is where probing questions come in. The type of probing questions you will ask will depend on the information that they’ve already given you. This is why it is so important that you listen to them when they first begin so you don’t ask questions that they’ve already answered. This also shows that you’ve paid attention to them.  

          So, because we are customer service professionals and we are students of our businesses and no customer knows more about our product or service than we do (hint hint), there is no problem,, there is only a perceived problem.  When a customer calls in with a concern or issue, we already have their solution. If we do not have the solution, then we already have readily available a plethora of organized resources to ensure we assist them in getting their concerns resolved quickly. Here is where preparation is key.  A true customer service professional will take the time to study their products and services inside and out, so that the customer is never more knowledgeable than you! We are the subject matter experts.  During the probing questions phase of the conversation will tell you if the customer has a real problem and if they really do need help or if they’re just being a pain. Now, if they have a real problem handle it. If they are just being a pain, and want to gripe and complain; listen to what they have to say, thank them for their business respectfully and let them go(all the while keeping a stress ball handy) lol. You never have to raise your voice or reciprocate their rudeness to you. Besides, your reciprocating with snippity words and then they intern reciprocate with more angry words only escalates the situation and gets your blood pressure up and who needs that?!  Certainly not you. Believe it or not, life does exist outside of that ONE angry person! It’s not worth letting one bad apple spoil your otherwise beautiful day!  

     Always remember you are ultimately in control!

  If this blog is of some benefit to you, please submit your comments and let me know. Also, you can submit some topics that you would like for me to address and I’ll be more than happy to respond!  If you have any suggestions for this blog, I’d be happy to hear those as well.  

Make it a great one!

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