This is a topic I wanted to talk about for a long time. My thesis is that only people, who have never worked in a customer service are able to be rude as sh**.
Just a few examples: A customer yelled at me on the phone, because I didn’t understand his name, then he asked me if am stupid or why didn’t I hear his name? Sorry, but that man was mumbling… Another customer wanted to change his watch which he bought 10 years ago, the battery ran out, but he didn’t want to change the battery, he wanted to change his watch. No need to mention that he was also very rude.
I have so many more examples for you, but after 8 years in a customer service, I would say, I can give you some tips on dealing with difficult customers.
I. BE POLITE
If you are a hot tempered person and cannot control your feelings, I wouldn’t recommend you to work in a customer service, because there will always be some assholes who are trying to ruin your day haha. Nevertheless, being polite is the number one rule and you should never forget that. It is your job to satisfy your customer , you are getting paid for it, if you are going down to the same level as the customer and start being rude just as the customer, it will not only affect the company’s image, but also you. It can end badly.
I had a mystery shopper once and she was pretty rude, she did not only ask me a lot of question, which was of course her job, she also tried to put me down which was not okay in my opinion. In the end, I became rude, so the result from the mystery shopper was also bad and I had to explain it to my boss in a long ass essay.
II. LISTEN AND APOLOGIZE
By that I don’t mean that you should apologize for every shit, but if you apologize for what happened to them, they always seem to calm down. I had to deal with a lot of upset customers on the phone but when I repeated their problem and apologized for the issues, they often answered: ”I know it’s not your fault, I am sorry for yelling at you”.
For example I had a customer who was really upset about his car, and the company had some issues with delivering the parts of the car which was needed to repair it. So he called the company and I received the call and started immediately to yell at me and saying it is unacceptable how this company works and how we all can just act like we don’t care about the customer and so on. After I listened to him I said: ” I am very sorry Mr. XY that you have to wait so long for your car and I can imagine that this circumstance affects your daily life. I am very sorry for that, but I cannot influence the delivery, we are also depending on the other company’s work that they deliver your parts on time but due to unexpected issues, there is a delay. I also had this problem too and I can understand how upset you are.”
Of course I know that there are customers who don’t care about the company’s issues and how they deal with it and who they are talking to, but if you bring up some empathy they tend to be much more understanding! Some people just want to be heard and understand, sometimes they doesn’t need the problem solved that fast, they just want someone who listens to them.
III. OFFER DIFFERENT OPTIONS
That would be the next part of an apology. Always show them how you are going to solve their problem. If you show them, they will know that you care about the customer and they feel valued.
I just continue my apology from above: ” What I can do for you right now is to contact the responsible person for reparation and he/she can tell you what the next steps are going to be and maybe the exact date where you can pick up your car from the garage”
IV. SUMMARIZE THE CASE
At the end of the conversation you should summarize everything for the customer and if you are working in the office, you could also send them an e-mail as a confirmation. Or if you work as a sales assistant and have the possibility, you can offer them a discount on their next purchase or give them a free gift ( we had umbrellas e.g. )
V. KNOW YOUR VALUE
My last tip is for you, if you have real sh***y customers, you can ask another colleague for support. But if the customer starts to insult you or is severely rude in another way, you should tell them but in a polite way. In the end, they need something from us and not the other way round, but sometimes they think as a customer they are king and queen. Of course it is our job to keep our customers but do you really need such assholes as a customer?
Example: I had a customer on the phone complaining about something and he wanted to be connected with a certain person. Then I asked for his name again and suddenly he lost it and started to yell at me on the phone and insulted me and asked me if I am just stupid or deaf and he didn’t let me finish speaking. My answer was: HEY! Excuse me but could you please listen to me? You need something from me and not the other way round and if you mumble your name of course I cannot understand you, so please can tell me your name clearly, so I can transfer your call?”
Sometimes you just need to show them the fact that they need you and not the other way round.
I hope you liked this post, all the tips are as I said based on my experiences, of course there are many other ways to deal with customers and every customer is different to handle.
What are your experiences in the customer services? Have you had difficult customers and how did you d deal with them? I am very curious to hear about it!