We’ve all experienced the difficult customer. (Maybe we’ve even been one!) They argue. They complain. They may even yell.
Since your customer service team members are likely to encounter difficult customers, knowing how to deal with them is vital to your company’s success. Explore five customer service training solutions to help your team members satisfy unhappy customers.
1. Identify Problems Early
When you anticipate a problem with customers, you have the opportunity to rectify the issue early. Employees who have been through customer service training courses have the skills to identify when customer interactions are derailing. Try to alleviate the problem before it gets out of hand by looking out for a few characteristics of difficult customers. Problematic customers:
- Constantly criticize
- Aren’t mindful of your employees’ time
- Struggle to make decisions
- Treat your company like a vendor, not a partner
- Contact your employees frequently
2. Keep Cool
When it comes to dealing with difficult customers, the only control your employees have is over their own attitudes and actions. Your employees can’t control the customers they interact with, but they do have control over how they act in response. Poor customer service representatives tend to get frustrated and mirror the difficult customer’s attitude. With the right customer service training, employees learn how to keep calm and remain respectful. Because your customer service representatives are the face of your company, they must maintain a positive, calm demeanor when handling difficult customers. Their composure prevents the situation from escalating and may help to quell a difficult customer’s anger.
The best way to pacify a difficult customer is by solving his or her problem. However, finding the solution isn’t always easy. So, train your employees to actively seek compromise for tough situations. An employee with strong customer service skills finds a way to keep the customer happy, while also protecting the company’s interests. Let’s say you own a landscaping company and you have a customer who is complaining about prices being too high. Since you’re unable to budge on the cost of certain goods, you could offer alternatives on cheaper plants for their yard to satisfy their desire for a lower price. And, you’re still protecting your interests by maintaining your set prices. With adequate customer service training in negotiation, your employees find creative ways to reach compromises with difficult customers.
4. Focus On Communication
Communication is one of the biggest influencers in providing quality customer service. Some companies view communication as a one-way street: the difficult customer vents and you listen. However, an essential customer service skill is the ability to establish open communication with difficult customers. It does start with listening. When your employee listens to what the customer is saying and attempts to empathize with his or her frustrations or concerns, the customer feels valued. He or she is more open to listening in return. Then, it’s your team member’s turn to communicate. Acknowledge the customer’s problem and communicate the company’s position on it. Your employee may not agree with the problem your customer presents, but they should communicate that the problem has been heard and that you’re both working toward a solution.
5. Provide A Solution
After negotiation and communication, your employee should provide the customer with a solution. Try not to leave the issue unresolved, or you’ll probably hear from the customer again. Your customers should leave every customer service interaction with a solution and a positive experience.
Looking for more ways to improve your workforce and combat poor customer service? Try our free course preview of a successful customer service training program.