Clients that tear down your company are tough to deal with! They can wear you out, and really discourage your CSRs. And, it can be nearly impossible to defend the honor of your company when the client is blazing mad!
Madison Biddy is a CSR for AirNow HVAC. She is also an expert at handling dissatisfied clients. She learned this method in The CSR Classroom Series.
Today, she is our guest blogger. Madison is going to show you how to handle dissatisfied clients. And, it all starts by avoiding mistakes?
How Not to Handle an Angry Client
Larry called ABC Heating and Cooling very upset with the fact that he has had a technician out the past three days and his unit still isn’t cooling. Sharon answered the phone very distracted still scheduling the previous call.
Sharon: “Thank you for calling ABC’s, how may I help you?”
Larry: “Yes, this is Larry Smith. I have had you out three times over the past few days and my unit still is not cooling. I have paid your company hundreds of dollars and I am sitting in the heat.”
Sharon: “Okay, I can help with that, have we ever done service with you before?”
Larry: “I just told you that you have been out three times!”
Sharon: “Okay, what is that address?”
Larry: “1405 Main St.”
Sharon: “Okay, I will get you another service call placed but we can’t make it until tomorrow.”
Larry: “Are you kidding me? I have had enough with your company. I will just call someone else.”
Sharon: “Okay, Thank you, have a great day!”
We all have been Sharon at least once. There are many ways she could have handled this call differently. I am going to give you a Five-Step Process on how Sharon, and you, can have better outcomes.
The ongoing question most CSR’s tend to ask is how to help a disgruntled, or angry, client. It tends to be an ongoing problem within the workplace. Without proper training to understand how to handle them, angry clients will usually stress out a CSR. A stressed-out CSR can experience a 10% drop in booking or more.
Related Training: https://www.servextra.com/training/classroom/csr-series/
5 Steps to Convert the Angry Client
Step 1: Be Prepared
This means that you clear your mind of previous conversations. Remove office distractions, so that the only thing on your mind is the phone call you are about to take. You should not think about anything other than the call you are about to answer.
Step 2: Listen
Listen to the client’s concerns or problems, and ask questions. The main way that they will know you are listening and caring about their problems is by asking questions. This step is super important. People want to be heard and they want to know that you care.
Listening and asking questions makes your client’s feel appreciated by the company and by you. People long for the need of others, they want to be heard and cared for, even if it is by a CSR.
Side Note: I did a little research and asked all my coworkers, including the managers, how they handle an angry client. The ONLY recurring step in every answer was to LISTEN.
Step 3: Empathize & Reassure
The definition of empathizing is to relate to or to understand. Empathize with the client and the problem; empathizing lets them know you care. Regardless of how you feel, never get defensive. Say something along the lines of,
“I can see how that is very frustrating for you Mrs. Smith, and I am truly sorry that you had to have this experience with us…”
Now Reassure. This client has lost all hope and confidence in your company because of what has happened, so you have to reassure them that it will never happen again.
Reassure them that this problem will be fixed. Let them know that you will PERSONALLY make sure it is handled.
They have developed a connection to you because you have cared enough to listen and empathize with them.
Then grow that connection by personally taking care of the situation. After apologizing, you will say something like,
“… I can guarantee you that I will speak with a manager and see what we can do to make this right for you as soon as possible. I will talk with him and give you a callback today to let you know how this will be fixed.”
After the problem is resolved in the quickest manner possible, the client will be reassured with your company and you. You have built a relationship with this client because you proved you cared.
** This is the key step to the whole process, though it can’t be done without the others. **
Empathize and Reassure are key lessons in our CSR Classroom Series.
Step 4: Get Information and Go to the Right Person
In step three, you told your client you will talk with a manager and find a solution. This doesn’t mean put the client on hold; this will only make them angrier. Unless they ask if they can just hold for the manager, NEVER do this.
You need to give yourself enough time to go through the full account and give the manager all the information about the client and the situation.
Step 5: Follow Up.
Follow up with the manager and the client. What always helps me, is taking notes while getting all the information from the client.
I then make enough copies of that piece of paper to give one to the manager over that department, one to the general manager, and I keep one for myself. I put that paper in the appropriate folder so that I can easily come back and assure the client has been contacted for a follow-up.
I am checking to make sure that something was done to make sure that the client is happy. After we have already gone back out there to fix the problem, call the client and make sure everything is the way that they want it.
You could say something like,
“Hey Mrs. Smith, This is Madison, I spoke with you the other day. I know that we got someone out there yesterday to go over your concern, I just wanted to make sure that everything is the way you wanted it to be.”
She should then thank you and say,
“yes I love it all”
and you could apologize again for her inconvenience, and then thank her for her patience with your company.
NOTE: We as CSR’s are not to make anyone in our company, especially our technicians, look bad. We understand the frustrations of the client, but we never agree that a technician did a poor job.
Instead, remind the client that,
“As a company, we all do our best to provide you with excellent service. We are humans, so we make mistakes. We are professionals, which means our mistakes are never intentional, and we always resolve them promptly.”
Sharon could have handled her call differently by following this Five-Step Process and she would have gotten a different outcome.
By implementing this process, you will notice a decrease in stress, you will get better feedback, and you won’t be intimidated by talking to an upset client.
Don’t be afraid to take initiative over the call, instead of automatically transferring it to a manager. The client will feel appreciated and the manager will thank you. Most importantly show the client you care and that will make a world of difference.
Do you want to learn more about how to close more client calls while increasing client satisfaction? Check out the PRESS PLAY for CSR Series.
About the Author: Maddison Barrett is a CSR at Air Now in Millbrook Alabama. She is a guest writer and graduate of the PRESS PLAY for CSR Series.