Learn how to be a successful customer service agent with minimal stress. this article contains tips on how manage hard-to-handle customers while maintaining your cool.
There is a common factor among each customer that calls in to a customer service center. No matter what kind of product or service was purchased, the customer service center is there for those who are not satisfied with the product they purchased or who they purchased it from. There is a standard way to successfully deal with unhappy, dissatisfied and in some cases down right irate customers.
ALWAYS remain calm and collected. Some customers call in the heat of the moment, when their anger is at its peak, and as an agent on the other end of the phone one needs to understand that their customer is venting. Don’t take it personal, its not about you. The number one function of a customer service center is for customers to voice their frustration, and have a listening ear. If the agent raises his/her voice in response to the customer’s frustration, the customer will become confrontational. It’s a natural response.
Learn the art of listening, and take notes if necessary. This is a skill that most people are taught in grade school, but some people do not understand the importance of listening and lose their skills as they mature. Active listening means that you are fully engaged in what your customer is saying, not trying to formulate an answer while they are speaking. Trying to formulate an answer while your customer is speaking will cause you to ask unnecessary questions, and will only make your customer more frustrated with you. This tip is not just essential in Customer Service, but in life, and relationships in general.
Ask key questions to your customer, so you will know where to direct them for further assistance. Depending on the company that you are working for, you should have a call flow process designed so your questions are not off topic of your phone conversation and that you cover all necessary information needed to help solve your customer’s issue. This should also include contact names and numbers to refer your customer to if need be. You should also know your limitations and authority as far as making decisions and changes for your customer.
Do not make promises you can’t keep. Customers will remember if you’ve made them a promise and not followed through. If a situation requires that you call the customer back, do not give exact times when you call them back as outside influences who are aiding in solving the issue may be delayed in their response to you.
Keep on top of outstanding issues, and remain in contact with your customer even if you don’t have any updates for them in regards to their specific situation. In some cases an issue can not be solved in one phone conversation. However, customers like to have contact with you during the process of solving their issue, so that they know you haven’t forgotten about them. This shows that you care about your customers, and value their business.
Be compassionate but assertive. Some customers, especially when they are angry will have power trips on the phone, and will try to manipulate you. You need to have a strong knowledge of your products or services, so you are not wishy washy in your responses, but still show you care and understand your customers concerns.
Moreover, a customer service outlet for a company should be a support system and can make or break its sales success. A successful customer service agent can smoothly direct their customers to the right people for assistance. They can turn a bad sale into a better experience and leave a lasting impression that will have the customer purchasing products/services from you again.