Of course my title is a joke! Our account team has said that exact phrase many times though. You know that if you interact with any sort of B2B or B2C business customer interaction will come into play at some point. Our agencies life-blood is our clients. We deal directly with employers and employees everyday as the go between from the insurance company. Here are some keys to success in dealing with those “dissatisfied” folks. I believe most of these are common sense but they still need to be mentioned.
Listen First, Speak Later
The initial burst of anger from your customer will almost always be the most intense. Resist the urge to interrupt, argue, or engage in problem solving. Instead, relax, slow down your breathing, and listen intently while nodding and making eye contact with your customer. Remember that this is not a personal attack it just so happens you answered the phone.
Apologize and Empathize
Your customer will eventually run out of steam and pause to collect his/her thoughts. When this happens, take the opportunity to apologize. An effective apology goes to the heart of what has upset your customer. I am surprised how often this is overlooked because the service representative is overly nervous about the reaction.
Immediately after apologizing, repeat the customer’s complaint to him or her. Clarifying the complaint assures the customer that you are concerned about the problem and helps you avoid further misunderstandings that may reignite his or her anger again. NOTE: Be careful not to be to belligerent here. If you make the caller feel like a child you will get more of the “burst of anger!”
Take Immediate Action
Get the problem solved. Otherwise all the other actions taken above will be in vane. Make the unhappy customer your top priority. You want him or her to see you as an advocate, not an opponent. Start by asking what resolution is desired, and begin working toward a solution.
If you cannot find an immediate answer or solution, take the lead in phoning the customer back. Jot down contact information and outline the corrective steps you will be taking. Include the names of everyone who will be involved in the solution.