5 Difficult Customer Scenarios (And How To Respond)

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If history has taught businesses anything, it’s that the customer is always right. Even when they are wrong, they are correct. And, if you don’t get behind this theory from the very beginning, then you will piss a few people off. That isn’t speculation – it’s the truth.

The problem is that consumers are hard to handle anyway. Whether you do the right thing or you don’t, they are bound to find a gripe. Don’t tell them this but they are a little snooty!  So, it seems as if you are in a catch-22 situation with no viable exit strategy. Wow, that’s an uncomfortable place to be if you’re a boss.

But, there is a saving grace at play. If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try and try again. Practice makes perfect, and with the right tools at your disposal, you’ll soon become a customer service master. Here’s how to respond to challenging scenarios.

Greeting Via Live Chat

Technology is throwing curveballs out left right and center these days. In 2018, it’s as common to speak to someone via video as it is over the telephone. Customers like to put a face to the name, plus it adds to their liability claim if anything goes wrong. For you on the other end, it’s vital to make a positive first impression as they will judge you. And, if they don’t like what they see or hear, it’s almost impossible to turn the tide. The trick is to be bubbly and friendly and act as if you want to help, not as if you are being forced. Smile, say hi, tell them your name and ask how you may be of service. Forget about the company spiel because they know who they are speaking to and why. During the conversation, always maintain eye contact with the camera or else it seems as if you are distracted.

Interacting While Out Of The Office

Well, this is impossible, right? How can a business speak to a customer if there is no one in the workplace? The answer is with the help of technology. Today, artificial intelligence is making huge strides and is easy to source and affordable. Don’t worry because it isn’t the type of machine that is going to destroy humanity. In fact, it’s an ephemeral program that is unnoticeable unless you are on the phone. When consumers call the company, there should be an automatic answering service that greets them. The first reason is simple – it’s a time-saver. As they go through the motions, someone will hopefully walk through the door and pick up the phone. Secondly, it often solves problems without the help of an employee. By referring them to the website or answering FAQs, the customers can hang up the call as a happy person.

Problem-Solving In The Moment

One of the worst moments is realizing you don’t have a clue what to do while speaking to a disgruntled individual. They are ready to blow and you don’t have the answers. Ouch! Sometimes, a plan pops out of thin air and reveals itself, just like a guardian angel. Other times, you need to ask for permission to continue to resolve the issue. Whatever happens, the person on the other end of the line shouldn’t have to ask if you’re still there. It means the silence has been too long and they have been left unsupervised. Instead, quickly decide whether you can solve the problem live or need more breathing space. If it’s the latter, ask to put them on hold while you speak to a manager. As a last resort, tell them you will call back after the problem is fixed.

Following Up

As a rule, never promise to call back and then leave them hanging. It will only encourage them to dig in and take the business for a ride. At the least, you’ll lose a person who could have been a valued customer. So, you must contact them, and you should do it as soon as you receive word that there has been a development. Even if the issue is unresolved, it’s better to phone and keep them up to date as they’ll appreciate the effort. When they do pick up the phone, give them your name and the reason for your call.

The Unfixable Situation

Sometimes, and this happens rarely, the scenario is out of your hands. There is nothing you can do but apologize and grovel. Now, this won’t go down well, but there are ways to soften the blow. For instance, a full refund and a discount voucher should suffice.

How do you try and keep your customer base happy?

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