How do your respond when a customer gets upset? are you calm and helpful, or do you become defensive and aggressive? Customers are the life blood of any business. It is imperative that when we are interacting with our customers that we should leave them with the BEST thoughts about our products and services.
1. Be assertive – not aggressive or passive. My definition of assertion is simple: “Say what you mean, mean what you say, and don’t be mean when you say it.” Let this rule guide your conversations with all customers and you will always be confident, cool, and in control AND you’ll always be professional.
2. Speak more slowly. You’ll be amazed at how much more clearly you can think and how much control and confidence you experience when you consciously slow down your rate of speech. Speak slowly and methodically when your emotional triggers are launched and you’ll maintain poise during difficult conversations.
3. Wait 1-2 seconds before responding. Responding immediately to difficult or tactical customers could result in you saying something you’ll later regret. Before you respond, take a deep breath, wait at least 2 seconds, and think about the best response and the best approach.
4. Take a time-out. When you sense that your buttons have been pushed, take a break. You can tell the customer you need to put him on hold while you review a file, or whatever excuse sounds good at the time. The point is to get away from the customer for a few seconds so you can re-group.
5. Use positive self-talk. Instead of saying to yourself, “I don’t get paid enough to put up with this ____.” Say something more positive like “This person really needs my help.” Thinking more positively helps you respond more positively and professionally. Negative thoughts lead to negative words, and it spirals into a very negative situation.
6. Show your power before you use it. Often, a subtle suggestion of your “power” is far more effective than the outright use of your power. As a business owner you may have the power to terminate a phone call, but remember that customer service is vital to your business survival. You could say to your customer: “If you don’t stop yelling, I will terminate this call.” But, believe it or not, you are far more “powerful” if you say, “I want to help you, but when you yell and cut me off, you make it difficult for me to work with you.” The latter statement demonstrates your power and your message most definitely gets across. The former statement uses up all of your ammunition and won’t usually diffuse an irate customer.
These incredibly simple tips will position you to keep your cool when customers get hot! We will all encounter that one customer who will push our buttons, but we must also remember that the customers issue is our concern.
Marco Barnes Jr VMPAcademy