In today’s omnichannel world, customers have many ways to engage with a brand. When they have a great experience, chances are that they’ll spread the word, and social media platforms play a great role in delivering such messages. But what happens when a customer has a less-than-stellar experience, or even a downright poor one? In difficult situations, a customer service agent’s approach to communicating with a frustrated customer can be the difference between making the customer satisfied and losing him or her for good. Here are five tips for communicating with unhappy customers to reinstill faith in your brand and gain their loyalty.
Listen and empathize. An unhappy customer always has a story to tell, and he or she deserves to be heard in full. Agents should patiently welcome a customer’s explanation of an issue and show genuine empathy through supportive and understanding language. Allowing a customer to vent is critical to helping them calm down and eventually engage in a conversation that brings a positive resolution. Brands need to show customers that they value them as people, not just as consumers, and agents play a critical role in serving as the human face of a brand and establishing an empathetic tone.
Summarize the situation and the solution with clarity. Once the customer has finished explaining the issue, the agent should repeat it back to the customer by summarizing the situation and asking for clarification where necessary. The agent should also ask if there’s any other important information the customer would like to share. Once a solution is found, the agent should explain it with equal clarity and detail so the customer knows exactly what to expect as a resolution.
Personalize the experience. A frustrated customer who reaches out for support is making a personal gesture for a resolution that may involve getting emotional. For this reason, agents must reciprocate this sense of trust and willingness to show vulnerability by delivering a personalized experience that justifies the customer’s trust. Agents should always give their name and contact number (including their personal extension or employee ID number) in case there is a disconnection while assuring the customer that he or she will take care of the situation personally.
Maintain a professional and positive tone. No matter what the tone of the customer, agents need to keep a consistently professional tone. Particularly angry customers who become verbally abusive may be referred to supervisors and asked to cooperate respectfully, but in no situation should an agent reciprocate any negative feelings or language. Keeping a positive and sincere tone while giving customers meaningful resolutions is essential.
Offer a solution that caters to customer needs and preferences. Once the situation has been properly assessed, agents should offer the best solution to the customer and offer options whenever possible. For example, giving customers options for better service (better deals, delivery service, etc.) will empower them and reinstill their faith in the brand. Goodwill gestures are also important in such situations. For example, if a billing error has been made, not only should it be fixed but any penalty fees that were charged when the customer was not at fault should be waived immediately. Agents should be proactive by offering waivers or discounts as goodwill gestures before the customer even asks. Being proactive in difficult situations is critical to winning back an unhappy customer’s trust.
It can be difficult for brands to please everyone, but embracing a professional and empathetic approach to communication with unhappy customers can turn even the most frustrated customer into a loyal one. Learn about Vocalcom contact center software solutions for delivering excellent customer service.
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