Thursday, June 16, 2011

Customer Service Tips-How to Handle Irate Customers

No matter how good your product or service is, inevitably some disgruntled customers will show up at your business or call to register their displeasure with the level of service received from the company. And some of the customers may be emotional or hysterical about the whole issue. The ability to communicate another point of view to someone who is highly emotional is a very important skill which can be learnt.
The following are 19 skills that work regardless of how emotional, hysterical or unreasonable the other person may be.

1.      Do not argue. Arguments leave both parties beaten and drained and the subsequent atmosphere is rarely conducive to selling or good communication.
2.      Do not try to win. Even if you win, you will lose-possibly one of your best customers.
3.      Do not compete with customers opinions. An argument is a challenge to another person’s emotional judgment and you will rarely change someone’s opinion once you have challenged that judgment.
4.      Expect customers to be annoyed .Do not expect the customer to be in a rational frame of mind. Anger frequently accompanies a complaint.
5.      Avoid being casual. Maintain a professional approach .The customer is likely to be oversensitive to a casual or uncaring attitude.
6.      See complaints as opportunities. Complaints are an opportunity to demonstrate the high standards of professionalism employed by your company.
7.      Take responsibility .Do not pass the buck. Take personal responsibility to ensure the complaint or query is completed to the customer’s satisfaction.
8.      Care .Show you really care by your actions, manner and personal interest in resolving the query.
9.      Listen, listen, and listen. One of the most important skills in handling conflict is the ability to listen with all your senses. Avoid trying to calm  the other person  down, this will only make the situation worse
10.  Remain calm. Try to maintain your cool. Ensure your body language is not conveying anger or shock. This will encourage the other person to get it off their chest. Do not allow yourself to be drawn into the argument
11.  Never interrupt. Apart from being the height of bad manners, it will only add to the other person’s annoyance. Respond when appropriate and use expressions such as, I see, I understand or I agree.
12.  Ask appropriate questions. The only way you can demonstrate your real interest in others point of view is by asking questions. Ask open questions such as, why, what, when.
13.  Ignore remarks or insults. When people are angry they occasionally say things they don’t really mean
14.  Wait for calmness. Experience show s that people cannot shout at the top of their voices forever they will eventually calm down. Usually your courtesy in listening will be reciprocated .If the other person interrupts you, probably it means that you have not given him enough time to explain himself.
15.  Summarize the points at issue. Demonstrate your understanding of the issues by summarizing: If I understand you correctly, this is the situation….  Make sure the customer agrees with your interpretation.
16.  Find an area of agreement and state it. Rarely will a customer have it so wrong that there are no areas for agreement.
17.  Demonstrate empathy. Customers do not always expect you to agree with them but what all of them can justifiably expect is that you will do your utmost to understand their point of view.
18.  Agree on action or follow up. Whatever agreement is made between you and the customer should be followed up with all speed. Complaints are an inevitable part of business but how they are handled will dictate your company’s future relationship with the customer.
19.  Thanks the customer for the complaint. The customer has a choice to bring the complaint to you or to take it to your competitor. Those who bring the complaints directly to you should be thanked. Many people protest by taking their businesses elsewhere.
If you follow the above tips, you are on your way to succeeding in your business.
I‘d love to hear your feedback as comment replies. Thanks for reading.

To Your Success!
Patrick
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