Not every call to your business's customer service line will be positive. In fact, a good amount of those times someone is calling with an issue they'd like resolved. It is important that no matter the circumstances, your business's customer service is committed to providing an excellent experience for your customer—even if that means having to de-escalate a call.
The following is a 5-step guide to de-escalating a call to your customer service line from an upset customer:
Being yelled at is never fun, especially not at your place of work. It is easy to go into fight-or-flight mode in situations like this and want to be defensive or hang up the phone. However, having a job in customer service means always remaining calm. Take a few deep breaths and keep in mind that the customer is not mad at you personally. They are upset about their own problems.
Attempt to be empathetic and put yourself in their shoes. This will allow the customer to feel heard and for you to better understand their frustration.
Don't take it personally
Like it is explained above, it is difficult to remain calm when someone is yelling at you or to not take it personally. It is normal to not feel okay with the fact that someone is yelling at you—but realizing that they aren’t yelling at you for personal reasons will help you too feel less affected by their angst. It is easier said than done, but try not to take angry customer calls personally.
An angry customer is always ready to unleash their angst on customer service. By the time you are on the phone with them, they've most likely already planned out what they would like to address and what solution they are looking for. Learn to be okay with that and let them speak.
As a customer service representative, it is your job to listen. Once the customer is done speaking, take a moment to reflect on what was said. Answering with "I hear..." or "I can empathize with your frustration..." is always a great start. It is important that you make the customer feel understood.
Apologize to de-escalate an upset caller
Regardless of the circumstance, a sincere apology always helps to fix a problem. Apologizing to the customer for the issues they've faced will help put your call in the right direction. Make the apology personalized. Let them feel like they were heard and let them know you will do the best that you can to help rectify the issue at hand.
Repeat the information they're giving you
This is a good practice of "active listening". Repeating the information that the customer has just explained to you back to them and ask them if you understood their problem correctly. This also allows time for the customer to calm down and feel more secure in the situation.
Do not put the customer on hold
Nothing is more irritating to a customer who is angry to have to be put on hold. Instead of placing the customer on hold to further research the situation, talk them through your research. This allows them to feel like their problem is being looked into and will be handled properly.
Make an offer
Gaining the customer trust is important—empathy and apologies are the key to this but are not the only things you should do to ensure the call is deescalated and the call ended satisfactorily for the customer. Making an offer of a solution to your customer to lead them to satisfaction.
Know the difference between promises you can and can't keep
It’s important not to make a promise (or solution) you can't keep. Know what you can and can't deliver in your position as a customer service representative. Instead of making promises, assure the customer that you will do everything within the power of your position to help them and their pressing issue.
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