There is a saying in consumer service that goes, “the customer is always right,” and having this mentality is important when doing business. There are times when customers have an attitude we do not like but that may sometimes be caused by being under pressure or stress.
Knowing how to deal with frustrated customers by neutralizing their concerns, you can get more clients attracted just because of your good service. Doing this all starts with hiring the right employee and equipping each worker with the necessary tools to successfully deal with stressed customers. Here are seven best ways to deal with a stressed customer.
Be proactive and look for the signs
Behind every stressed customer, there are signs that hint on the right response. Picking up on these signs early and ensuring that you understand the customer's concerns is very important.
Some of the signs you should look out for include anger, constant calling, or sudden change to be more inquisitive. These changes in customer behavior may indicate that the customer is becoming stressed.
Other customers may have an opposite response and rapidly become more silent. If there is a sudden change in the usual behavior you expect from your customers, follow up on them.
When you take notice of these signs early, it might prevent a full-blown episode of stress that might not end up well. Try to calm them by offering more information about whatever they are stressed about.
For example, a customer could potentially be concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on your business. As a result, they might ask questions about whether you are open during this global pandemic or how it may impact their business.
Some may ask more plainly by inquiring whether lead times will be affected amidst the global lockdown. Note these concerns and address them quickly and accurately.
Empathy is an important quality for employees dealing with customer complaints or questions. If employees do not have empathy, they might make the situation worse.
Customers may think the company does not care about their concerns if employees do not manifest empathy. That might incite anger in the customer and if the employee returns a harsh answer, the outcome will be catastrophic.
Instead, the employee should validate the concerns of the customer and ensure the client of their full cooperation.
Once the customer is done speaking, the employee can then say words of sympathy with the client’s cause. Maybe by saying, “I see how important this product is to you and the impact it might have if it is not to your standards.”
Customers will be engaged 9 times more when they receive empathetic service, making this skill a very important one and fully-engaged customers tend to spend 23% more than the regular customers.
The trait of empathy can be manifested clearly during these COVID-19 days by mentioning how deeply concerned you are about the clients during this time. After assuring them that you will do everything in your power to ensure that this global pandemic does not affect any service disruption, and wish them good health.
Simple words such as "take care" or "stay safe" can convince customers that they are in the right hands. It might also reduce future concerns because they will realize that you are not complacent when it comes to the happiness of clients.
Improve your listening skills
Customer support personnel should have very good listening skills. This will improve the way they understand the customer. When the client is speaking, you should be collecting the information to help provide a solution.
Also, do not assume that you know what the customer will say because the answer or service provided might be completely opposite to what the client expected. Instead of assuming, ask questions and ensure that you have all the facts before giving an answer.
Another good practice is to ask questions with a yes or no answer. Those questions could be, “Just to be sure I got everything correctly, you said (repeat customers statement)?
These questions contribute to active listening and show the customer that you are not distracted by other things.
If you are speaking with a customer in person, it’s important to maintain eye contact during the conversation and acknowledge that you heard the client by paraphrasing. You can also mention a similar situation that happened and explain how it got resolved to encourage your client.
The good service reviews are derived by cultivating good listening skills that allow employees to know the exact needs of customers.
If you are in a videoconference with customers, active listening can be demonstrated by sitting patiently with no distractions and maintaining eye contact. Customer support personnel who do not follow this can make customers believe they are not interested in what is being discussed.
Instill hope in the customer’s heart
When a customer comes with a concern, make it known that since it has been brought to your attention, it is now your problem. Explain to the customer that you will do everything and anything in your power to resolve whatever seems to be the problem.
Be transparent while maintaining a helping spirit. Tell them the procedure that needs to be followed, if any, and then give them a realistic timeframe.
For example, if a customer is stressed about not being able to log in to their employee time clock system, you can ensure that you will do everything you can to get it fixed. If you need to consult with a developer or manager for an answer, provide a realistic timeframe when the customer may receive an answer.
Work towards having the right tone
Having the right tone is very important when dealing with stressed customers. Do not make the mistake of returning their anger with a hurtful comment, rather be very nice so that the situation does not escalate - have a positive attitude. Just smile and breathe.
This applies even when you are in a telephonic conversation. Why is this important? Our smile affects our tone of voice and if you sound agitated or bored, which might lead to an unhappy customer. Also, deal with every customer impartially. It does not matter how much they are bringing in to the company, you should be nice to everyone. Doing this can retain 93% of customers because they will most likely purchase over and over again.
Avoid thinking that since there is a global pandemic customers should automatically understand any support failures. Explain the situation to each customer in a diligent manner and show compassion to them. Assure them that their matter takes priority and their order will be resolved as best as you can do.
Open communication throughout the process of resolving the concerns of the customer is vital. If certain steps need to be taken and can’t provide a response right then and there, make a note to remember following up as soon as possible.
When you let the trail grow cold, the risk of things going awry is heightened and can result in very agitated customers. You can take care of this by making a note and adding it on your daily planner with a list of things to do.
Even after the problem has been resolved, call them back and ask if everything went as they expected. Afterwards, report back to the team you work with to brainstorm possible solutions to the problem in future. This is also a great way to prompt a positive customer review.
The bottom line
Empathy skills are very important in dealing with stressed customers. It is important to practice active listening and empathy to deal with your concerned clients. Do not forget to follow up whenever needed and ensure the customer you are here to solve their problem.
Leon Collier is a freelance writer from the UK, who currently works for an assignment writing service, Write my thesis. He covers a wide variety of subjects and has a strong desire to write. He enjoys reading books and playing tabletop games on Saturday with his friends. Follow him on twitter @LeonCollier12.