Diffusing Sticky Customer Situations

Hanna Walther, Ytel |  

It happens all the time in business; customers get frustrated, upset, and often react unprofessionally. Whether they yell on the phone, send harsh emails, or bash you on social media, angry customers happen to the best of us. The best (and only) thing you can do is to listen, and alleviate the situation as best you can. As a representation of your company and its mission and culture, your team should be well trained in how to handle peeved customers with tact and patience, and most importantly, how to resolve the issue quickly!Diffuse Stick Customer Situations Effectively

It happens all the time in business; customers get frustrated, upset, and often react unprofessionally. Whether they yell on the phone, send harsh emails, or bash you on social media, angry customers happen to the best of us. The best (and only) thing you can do is to listen, and alleviate the situation as best you can. As a representation of your company and its mission and culture, your team should be well trained in how to handle peeved customers with tact and patience, and most importantly, how to resolve the issue quickly!Diffuse Stick Customer Situations Effectively

Have patience

Understand that it's not directly or entirely your fault, and use that knowledge to find your patience in every situation. Having patience will make you more understanding and tolerant of any harsh words that are said about you and your team when dealing with an irate customer. Knowing that they're just frustrated with the situation and it's nothing personal is a great reminder for your team in those heated moments.

Know your policies, terms, products and team

Having a full working knowledge of every facet of your products and services, the terms in which they signed a contract, the infrastructure of your company, and the team members who interacted with this customer will be very helpful when you're diffusing a situation. All this knowledge can clear the air on any "he said, she said" interjections that could occur, especially if company policy is being violated.

Empathize

Chances are good that you've been a frustrated customer and called a company to complain about the issue you're having. Remember this when it's your turn to be a customer's sounding board, and respond accordingly. Saying that you share in their frustration and would feel the same way if you were in their shoes is a positive way to let them know that things do happen and you're here to help. It also says that you're human and have feelings and you care about fixing the issue for them, because you've been in their shoes before.

Provide steps forward

Once the customer has explained what's happening and they've got it all off their chest, provide the next steps forward to keep the conversation moving in a positive direction. This could be a myriad of things, but make sure you're on the same page about what you'll be doing next. Communicating clearly is crucial to keeping customer satisfaction once the issue is resolved. 

Stay positive 

If you're mad or frustrated when handling an issue, it will be fairly obvious to the customer. Remaining positive and upbeat (but not going overboard) will make solving the issue less painful and easier to control. Positive perspective leads to a positive outcome. 

Follow up 

Once you've handled the situation, don't forget the customer exists... even if you wish you could. Follow up with them in the coming weeks to see how things are going, if there's any support you can provide or any questions they need answered. They will appreciate you reaching out more than you know. 

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About The Author

Hanna Walther, Ytel

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Hanna manages Ytel's Communications strategy and has worked in Marketing for five years. She has a Master's in Communications and is passionate about connecting customers and businesses by building authentic relationships online.


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