It’s happened to you… and it’s happened to your customers. You have an issue, question or complaint, and want to get it resolved via phone. This can lead to a few nightmare scenarios:
- You’re put on hold for what seems an indefinite time, while a recording continues to assure, “your call is important to us.” Really?, you think. If my call is so important, why aren’t they answering?
- When you finally are off hold, you find yourself listening to a voicemail instead of a person.
- And if you do talk to a person, that rep doesn’t seem to understand or appreciate your problem, giving phony-sounding “scripted” responses.
These outcomes can easily turn a caller into an irate customer whose temper is already elevated by the time he or she is off hold or voicemail.
Keep Your Cool
If your customer is already “hot under the collar” by the time he or she gets through voicemail hell, you can keep things cool and push the conversation back to service. Never take a complaint personally; that can lead to an argument.
- Apologize. If the problem stems from a legitimate issue with your product or service, the worst thing you can do is try to deny or deflect it away. “I’m sorry that happened to you” is sincere. “I’m sorry you feel that way” is a non-apology that can lead to even more anger.
- Explain. Tell the customer what you plan to do about the issue. Make the resolution realistic – never “over-promise and under-deliver.”
- Seek agreement. Before you sign off, say something like, “Just to confirm – we’re going to send out a free replacement part within 48 hours at our cost. Is that good with you?”
- Thank them. Even an irate customer is a valuable source of customer service education.