Every brand makes mistakes sometimes, and interactions can be tricky for the customer service team when customers are feeling frustrated, but it’s the team’s job to turn this around.
As a Customer Service Advisor/Assistant, what you really don’t want is to be the cause of that frustration- or to escalate it. The key is to remain genuine, human, empathetic… oh, and steer clear of these phrases (trust us)…
The customer’s thoughts: ‘Well, if you don’t know, how on Earth should I know?!’. And they’d be right to feel this way! They’ve contacted the customer service team with the expectation of speaking to a friendly expert. “I don’t know” is a little more…well, disinterested ‘non-expert’.
If unsure, the customer service team should be doing one of two things:
• Finding out and getting back to the customer, ASAP.
• Putting the customer in touch with someone who can help. And by “putting the customer in touch”, we don’t mean providing a number and sending the customer away- we mean immediately putting the customer in touch with the right person, to have their issue resolved as quickly as possible.
Aside from the fact that this is pretty rude, the customer service team’s responsibility is to listen to the customer’s concerns and leave them in a better position than they were before they got in touch. The way to leave the customer feeling calm is to offer a solution/alternative. A surefire way to leave the customer feeling the complete opposite of calm, is to completely disregard their feelings.
One of the most important traits of a Customer Service Advisor is the ability to empathise. By asking the customer to “calm down” you may as well be saying: “I don’t think this is something worth getting worked up over”, which is a clear indication that you’re not taking the situation as seriously as they are. Instead, try reassuring the customer by explaining that you understand how they feel, and then explain what you’re going to do next to make this better for them.
At the end of the day it doesn’t matter whose fault it is, the point is that your customer needs the team’s assistance to help restore their confidence in your product/service.
The team should feel comfortable apologising to the customer (in a genuine way), regardless of whose “fault” it is, and should reassure the customer that they will do their upmost to right the issue. After all, the customer service team are usually the frontline in customer communication; there to help the customer and represent the brand.
Not true! There’s always something you can do to help and the customer knows this. Even if it’s just listening to them, reassuring them that you understand, letting them know you will do all you can to help, and assuring that you will keep them fully informed and up to date.
If, for some reason, you really can’t do something that the customer would like you to, it’s always best to explain exactly why this is and to suggest alternative products, services or processes to help the customer get as near to their goal as possible (or better!).
Put yourself in the customer’s shoes here: if you’re contacting the customer service team to ask a question about something, or raise an issue, then clearly it’s important to you.
With this in mind, telling the customer “you’ll get back to them” is simply too vague. Your customer will want to know where they stand, so that they can get on with their plans- ‘When will you be getting back to me?’
Providing an accurate time-frame, and sticking to it, is the best way to leave your customer feeling informed and reassured.
To the customer, it’s not just an inconvenience; it’s an issue and it needs resolving, pronto!
In just the same way that asking the customer to calm down makes them feel you’re down-playing the situation, to refer to the issue as an inconvenience is just another passive-aggressive way of making them feel as though you’re not taking this seriously, or at least that’s how the customer will see it.
Again, don’t be afraid to say sorry, and make sure you really empathise. Let them know you understand how this is affecting them.
Need help managing your customer interactions? Get in touch to have a chat about how we can help!