Handling Difficult Customers

Rock, Paper... People

Copyright: 123RF

Copyright: 123RF

Take a quick look at your desk.  What do you see?

Lots of paperwork? I thought so.  

Chances are, your job involves a lot of both paperwork and phone work, and sometimes the ringing phone feels like an interruption. That feeling can lead to a greeting that sounds rushed or unhelpful, sending your call off to a rocky start.

This week, aim to catch yourself thinking: "Arghhh – the phone is ringing!" and say instead: "Yay, the phone is ringing!" or "I’m gonna rock this!"  Then your greeting will sound professional and friendly, ready to handle anything.

Smile, Breathe, Rock On. You got this!

Stuff Happens

Copyright: 123RF Stock Photo

Copyright: 123RF Stock Photo

If you’re in the business of providing customer service (and who isn’t?) then you know that things will go wrong.  Yes, please work on reducing the number of times things go wrong, but this note is about how to handle the conversation – in an email.

What your customer needs when they share their concern is to feel heard, valued and to know what’s up next.  

I had an interaction that did just that a while ago and thought I’d share.
Notice the difference between a robotic, “We’re sorry for the inconvenience” and this reply:

"Thanks for reaching out, and huge bummer to hear the sizing wasn't perfect for you. We can definitely exchange that Medium out for a Small.

I'm attaching a return label for you to print, pop on the box, and hand off to your local postal worker. Once we receive your lid* back in our warehouse, I'll ship you out a Small.

Have a great afternoon." 

*lid – it was a bike helmet.  These days I only dream of returning a medium for a small. :-)

How do you apologize and make it right in your emails to customers?

If you’d like help with ideas on how to personalize, humanize and empathize your emails drop me a note.

Smile and the World Smiles with You

Photo Credit: https://thechive.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/try-not-to-smile-at-these-smiling-animals-34-photos-14.jpg?quality=85&strip=info&w=600

Smiling, like yawning, is contagious.

When someone comes into your office, your cube or the company kitchen, look up and smile at them.

Bet they smile back, betcha it goes viral faster than this video of Fiona The Hippo

Tip:  If they don’t, be extra kind.  They might be having a tough day and need a little extra care.

On another note:  Would you like to get WARD CERTIFIED?  Now you can, click here to learn more.

Words for the Week

thumbs up woman.jpg

"I can" or "I will"

Customers don't care about your company policies or procedures or what you can't do

What they are interested in is what you can do.  Focus on that.

Rather than saying, "We can't update passwords over the phone" try, "Your security is important to us. If you email us the new password, we'll update it right away."

Change, "We can't get there on Tuesday" to, "We can be there Wednesday morning or afternoon, which do you prefer?"

If you are doing this already, send me an example by email. I will read them.


On another note:  Would you like to get WARD CERTIFIED?  Now you can, click here to learn more.

What makes challenging callers so darn challenging?

Many times the real reason that caller is hard to handle is because they intimidate us or make us nervous. 
Why? Because they yell, talk fast, use demanding language or use our trigger words i.e.  “you people!
Tip: Act like you can handle it and you can!
Standing up as they talk.  Standing is a more powerful pose than sitting.  It will make you feel more confident.
Saying something to yourself as they talk.  “I got this!”

Remembering that you have the ability to help. You’ve helped many callers before so focus on listening to determine the facts.  Writing down the details of their story can help keep your thoughts focused on those facts.
Basking in your success.  After the call has been completed, take a moment to congratulate yourself and appreciate what you did well.


Relax...then relate

If you are relaxed, you will relate to people in an effective and powerful fashion and put your customer at ease.

If you are not relaxed, you might miss the opportunity to make a human connection.

Why does that matter? Top notch customer service is all about the human connection.

Try this: When you answer the phone, place a hand on your shoulder. If you feel your shoulder rise (perhaps due to the caller’s tone, words or question), this means you are getting tense. Take a moment to relax. Breathe and re- mind your awesome-self that you can do it!

The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear