Youíll work nine times harder attracting new business than you will retaining your current client list. That means you canít afford to anger even one customer.
Hereís how you can defuse tense situations and dissolve your customersí frustrations.
1. Keep Your Cool
Customer service agents must listen without interruption to customer complaints. When you acknowledge problems and empathize with your customerís situation, you immediately drop his frustration level.
Your goal: Remain calm and concerned -- even if the customer speaks harshly at first. Your mature approach will work wonders on his attitude.
2. Lock-In Customer Loyalty
Now that your customer is calmer, ensure him that you are happy to help him and that you appreciate his business. By emphasizing his loyalty to your company, you provide a subtle reminder that youíll resolve his problem -- just as you have in the past.
Your goal: Impress upon your customer that you will resolve his issue. Depending on the problem, you may want to offer a reward for his patience, such as extra frequent-flier miles or a service coupon.
3. Remain Professional
No matter how customers approach the service encounter, you must keep your composure. Your goal: Keep your speech and expressions polite and tactful. If a customer gets under your skin or if you are afraid that youíll involve your personal feelings, step away from your desk or ask the customer to hold while you take a few deep breaths.
4. Acknowledge Your Chronic Complainers
No matter how hard you try, there will always be customers whom you canít please. These customers call frequently to berate and threaten service agents.
Your goal: Elevate these callers to your lead agent or supervisor. Your leaders can then decide how to nip complainers in the bud -- whether thatís through finessed service or by referring them elsewhere.
5. Only Make Mistakes Once
Your customers shouldnít have to call more than once about the same issue. Identifying customer problems can improve your business, but not if you make the same mistakes over and over again.
Your goal: Learn from your mistakes the first time -- and then donít repeat them. If you spot repeat problems, be sure to alert your supervisor before customers catch on.
6. Grow Thicker Skin
Youíll eventually have to deal with an irate customer who attacks you personally rather than focusing on the actual problem. You must learn to roll with these punches without beating yourself up.
Your goal: Never respond to customers emotionally or give in to outrageous demands. You should also avoid crying, exhibiting anger or speaking with sarcasm. Instead, simply transfer the customer to someone more skilled at dodging personal bullets.
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