Anyone who works in the customer service industry knows how challenging this job can be. Not every client is happy-go-lucky, and servicing difficult clients can be taxing. It is the job of the customer service person to fight through this and get to the heart of the issue for the client. More often than not, if you take the time to identify the client’s problem, you can diffuse that situation and leave the client feeling satisfied even if there is no satisfactory resolution to their particular issue.
Here are a few tips for the next time you are faced with a difficult client.
- Listen. I know this seems like a no-brainer, but so many customer service people try to anticipate the client’s issue or are already formulating a response before the client is done speaking. This leads to hearing the client, but not listening to their actual concerns. Take the time to listen to the client before formulating a response. Sometimes the client just needs to vent and allowing them to do so can lead to a resolution on its own.
- Avoid “you”. Avoiding words like “you” can be very helpful in diffusing situations. Using words like I, we, you, your, etc. when discussing the problem can have the unintended effect of making the client feel like it’s them versus you. For instance, if a client calls complaining about a payment issue you could say, “The last bill was not paid,” instead of saying “You didn’t pay your latest bill.” Avoiding the word “you” in that situation does not place blame or sound accusatory towards the client and can help smooth out a tense conversation.
- Keep your emotions in check. The most difficult part of handling an upset client can be keeping your cool, but it is the most important part of finding a successful resolution. If you let your emotions or voice level match the upset client then this will only serve to escalate the situation. If a client is getting emotional or begins raising their voice, the best option is to speak calmly and lower your voice. It is very difficult for someone to continue to yell while the other party is speaking softly. More often than not, the client will match your voice level after a few rounds and you can begin to resolve their issue in a way that is mutually beneficial.
The tips above are just a few things you can do to improve those difficult interactions and keep your client happy. Do you have any tips that work for you? If so, please share!