Call Centers Can Benefit Businesses with Angry Customers
A common misconception is that an angry customer who wants to file a complaint or speak to a higher-level manager will stop giving a company its business. That is actually a falsehood, but only if the situation is handled effectively by the proper channels, one of them being the call center. Call center workers are specifically trained to handle both customer complaints, as well as inquires, while avoiding hostile situations. If left to untrained employees – regardless of their position in the company – the discontent expressed by the complainant can often be off-putting, leading to further disagreement and no resolution, tarnishing of a brand’s reputation, and an overall poor customer experience.
An angry customer can leave a bitter review, causing a business to lose both current and prospective clients. This is becoming more prevalent with the growth of social media, where customers often feel fee to vent frustrations about products and services. Yet, 90 percent of the customers who feel that they have been wronged do not file a proper complaint but rather stay silent about the matter and generally will not return to the “scene of the crime,” so to speak.
Call centers and properly trained and coached agents can help companies retain and somewhat satisfy upset or frustrated consumers. The center rep starts by listening thoroughly to the complaints. The representative is there to do a job and may feel emotions within the body of the exchange, but it’s important to remain neutral, soothing, and assume the role of peacemaker. The tone in which the agent speaks is also vital and must come across as very calm and even-toned. Taking a combative tone or approach will only rile up the customer even further.
There should be no fear of apologizing for the pain or trouble a customer has experienced. It is part of what they are employed to do; they are representing a business for that particular moment thus they must display empathetic etiquette. In fact, being empathetic doesn’t convey fault, rather a sense of understanding the customer’s needs. Finally, the call needs to end with some level of resolution – a way to make the customer satisfied. It is hard because a call center can only offer so much but they hav prescribed rules and guidance to follow regarding what is possible or acceptable in terms of compensating customers for their troubles – typically relative to the concern itself.
In the end, the customer service rep primary objective is to turn what began as a negative engagement into a positive experience, where all issues are resolved and the customer feels comfortable giving the company another chance. While there may be times that isn’t possible – even through escalation – the majority of unhappy customers can be appeased by following a few simple guidelines: listen, be empathetic, remain calm, offer positive and realistic resolution. Chances are, you’ll retain most of your customers – and even win some new ones who hear you have delivered a positive customer service experience.
Edited by Erik Linask