In our day to day interractions, whether we are a customer service executive or not, we daily relate with customers and no matter how calm or patient we are, our “faith” will be tested by a customer one day. If you’re into “mini” importation and ecommerce business then you will understand how we daily face different challenges from our customers, personally because I have trained quite a large number of individuals, I can tell you one thing for a fact, its not easy to relate with people especially when they paid for a service and not getting expected result, they tend to get angry, frustrated and say things they dont mean, what I will share with you today is what I do that has helped me handle things better when the customer is loosing his/her cool and I hope it helps you too.
1. Be assertive – not aggressive or passive. My definition of assertion is simple: “Say what you mean, mean what you say, and don’t be mean when you say it.” Let this rule guide your conversations with all customers and you will always be confident, cool, and in control AND you’ll always be professional. The other way to this is also to be diplomatic, there’s a joke that says “A diplomat will tell you to go to hell and you will look forward to enjoying the ride to hell” this is funny but true, the way and manner you say things goes a long way in affecting how you solve the issue. If you know this and you’re conscious about it, you will do better in your dealings with your customers even when they are angry.
2. Speak more slowly. You’ll be amazed at how much more clearly you can think and how much control and confidence you experience when you consciously slow down your rate of speech. Speak slowly and methodically when your emotional triggers are launched and you’ll maintain poise during difficult conversations.
3. Wait 1-2 seconds before responding. Responding immediately to difficult or tactical customers could result in you saying something you’ll later regret. Before you respond, take a deep breath, wait at least 2 seconds, and think about the best response and the best approach. At times, we read or listen to reply because we are already tensed and have an answer ready to give the customer so he/she can get off our face, but if only we take more time to relax and not go “fire for fire” we will be more in control.
4. Take a time-out. When you sense that your buttons have been pushed, take a break. You can tell the customer you need to put him on hold while you review a file, or whatever excuse sounds good at the time. The point is to get away from the customer for a few seconds so you can re-group.
5. Use positive self-talk. Instead of saying to yourself, “I don’t get paid enough to put up with this ____.” or if you’re the owner of the business instead of saying “How much did he/she paid sef” Say something more positive like “This guy really needs my help.” Thinking more positively helps you respond more positively and professionally. Negative thoughts lead to negative words, and it spirals into a very negative situation.
6. Show your power before you use it. Often, a subtle suggestion of your “power” is far more effective than the outright use of your power. As a customer service professional you may have the power to terminate a phone call. You could say to your customer: “If you don’t stop yelling, I will terminate this call.” But, believe it or not, you are far more “powerful” if you say, “I want to help you, but when you yell and cut me off, you make it difficult for me to work with you.” The latter statement demonstrates your power and your message most definitely gets across. The former statement uses up all of your ammunition and won’t usually diffuse an irate customer and this brings us back to my backup point in number 1 above, people often ask me “Emmanuel, how come you are able to handle multiple groups and even respond to some nasty comments” what I do in such cases is just to be as diplomatic as I can even if I’m angry, I choose my words carefully because I know people are watching so this helps me to handle things in a better way.
These incredibly simple tips will position you to keep your cool when customers get hot! I hope it helps, feel free to leave a comment, suggestions or share your story of how you handle difficult situations with your customers.
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