CUSTOMER SERVICE MANAGEMENT
REPORT: COPING WITH CHALLENGING CUSTOMERS
i. WHO ARE THE CHALLENGING CUSTOMERS
ii. WHY ARE CUSTOMERS CHALLENGING
iii. TYPES OF DIFFICULT CUSTOMERS
iv. TIPS TO KEEP FROM CREATING CHALLENGING CUSTOMERS
v. DEALING WITH ANGRY CUSTOMERS
vi. WAYS TO COPE WITH CHALLENGING CUSTOMERS
Coping - means to contend, rival or compete with difficulties -it is an act on how to overcome them.
There are 3 factors:
1. Dealing with Difficulties - With some customer service problems, your customer may remain calm and reasonable no matter how upset they might actually be. In other situations, no matter how trivial the problem, your customer may be very difficult, demanding, angry, rude, and even potentially violent. Short of hanging up or calling security, there are certain fundamental yet important steps you can take to deal with difficult customers. *One of the first steps to take when dealing with a challenging customer is to protect yourself with the proper mindset and attitude. Just because your customer is agitated or angry does not mean you need to absorb it or respond in kind. Studies show that just a few minutes of a strong negative emotion such as anger can demolish your body’s immune system for many hours afterward. Remember you can’t always control how a customer reacts to a given problem, but you can control how you respond. Rather than escalate an unpleasant situation, you can try some tactics to defuse it. You can do this by remaining focused, alert, understanding, caring, unemotional, and—most of all—patient. 2. Defusing Customer Misbehavior - Earlier in the course we considered just what it is a customer wants. The answer applies to upset customers just as much as any other: they want to be treated with respect and polite, helpful service. There is an ancient adage that a gentle word turns away wrath, and that’s as true today. A rude, angry, or belligerent customer may be calmed with a simple, “I’m sorry this has upset you … let’s see how we can fix it.” *It’s when dealing with difficult customers that your communication skills will be put to the highest test. It may be best to let your customer vent a little before you come back with a response. Remember to speak slowly, use short sentences, be tactful, and follow the golden model of customer service: listen, empathize, and take charge. *It helps to use a customer-centric perspective that puts you in the place of your customer. Try to see the situation as they do. What exactly is causing them stress? What are the solutions they might find satisfactory? How can those solutions be applied with minimum effort by your customer?
*You should also employ tactics of effective listening. This helps your customers feel their message is coming through, and you understand their problem clearly. The first step is to smile, to show that you are a friendly ally on their side to fix it. Smile even if you are on the phone—that gesture may sound in your voice. Do not interrupt while your customer is explaining a problem, other than to help clarify an issue. If it’s in person, lean towards your customers and turn an ear their way to show you are intently listening. Especially if it’s a conversation on the telephone, be sure to use affirmative words and sounds such asuh-huh, yes, I see, to demonstrate that you are listening, and to encourage your customer to continue. 3. Customer Service Do’s and Don’ts - Before we get into some best tips on what to do when dealing with difficult customers, let’s start by considering some important things not to do. As mentioned earlier, be sure not to get angry yourself, even if the customer starts to attack you personally as uncaringor incompetent. The reason you have been placed in your position is because you have demonstrated a concern for customer service and the skills to perform your job well. The customer is responding with a perspective muddled by emotion, and you should keep that in mind. You should also...
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