Dissatisfied Customers: The Permanent Challenge
I'm not exactly a social person. But in my job I have to talk to customers, and some of them are not at all satisfied.
The customers were relentless, I was hesitant and as a result no problem was solved. Until a new colleague came to work, and we all admired him for the convenience he had with dissatisfied customers. He never had to pass the call on to our boss, and somehow, he never let the angry customer influence his good mood.
He shared some tips that helped me learn to listen better, smoke less and end conversations with angry customers with a sense of accomplishment - instead of fearing they would come back with even more anger to break out. Here is what he taught me:
1. There is power in a name
One of the first things I noticed in the colleague's conversations was how many times he used the client's name. If you listened to him, you would think he had known the client for years. When I asked him about it, he stressed to me how powerful it is to constantly use the name of an angry customer. Addressing him with "I'm sorry", for example, sounds much more formal - and much less honest - than "I'm so sorry, Maria". When you use a name, you suddenly talk to a real person, a client who has a job and a life and a reason behind his frustration, despite an impersonal "miss".
2. Smile when you speak
As I watched this colleague interact with them, I could not help but notice that part of his calm and friendly demeanor seemed to come from the fact that he was smiling when he spoke. A pleasant expression immediately helps your voice convey friendliness and openness. The expressionless face, on the other hand, immediately removes the kindness from your voice. You may feel foolish, and especially in the case of angry customers, you may need to pretend - but even a forced smile works wonders when it comes to calming a troubled customer.
3. Customer decryption
It is important to outline your client so that you understand exactly how to connect with him or her. In addition to the personalities that emerge based on demographic data, you need to understand the tone, knowledge and personality of the person you are talking to. Some customers have high technical knowledge, some need high level explanations. Some need extra reassurance that things will be okay and others do not want to waste time unless you can offer a solution on the spot.
This kind of mirroring can help you connect better with your customers: they will feel like you really understand what they are saying - and this will help them be more open to your help.
4. Mute button
The key to dealing with angry customers over the phone is simply to let them break out. You mute your end of the phone (so the customer can't hear the noise in the office) and just listen without interrupting, suggesting solutions or asking clarifying questions.
Often, customers try to unleash their frustration. It is not pleasant to go through, but it is part of your job. But giving the client complete freedom of expression at the beginning of your conversation helps him to vent his frustration, quell some of his anger, and finally focus on finding a solution.
Talking to a dissatisfied customer will never be easy, but by using these techniques you can calm your customers down and show them that you want to help. This way, you will reach the solution faster.