Anyone who has worked in customer service has dealt with it. They dread it. They hope it never happens again. But it does happen again. And again; Something has gone wrong and the client is freaking out. And, by the way, it’s your fault.
One way to deal with a customer in this situation is to hold them tightly and rock them back and forth while whispering “everything will be OK” calmly in their ear. While effective, it is frowned upon in most business settings and particularly difficult over the phone. Luckily, there are other methods that work just as well.
Remain calm and…LISTEN
The more calm you remain the less likely you are to become aggravated, too. Remember that this is about them, not you. Allow the customer time to fully explain what the problem is and how it is impacting them. Take notes and don’t be afraid to ask questions to help you pinpoint the exact issue.
Validate their feelings
The customer is reaching out, partly, to confirm that you see this as a problem, too. You can validate your customer’s feelings by using phrases such as “I would be upset, too” or “I know what an interruption to your day this is.” Making the problem your common enemy will show that customer that you are engaged in helping to find a solution.
Define a course of action
If you are not able to solve the issue right away, let the customer know what the next steps are and when they can expect to hear from you. And stick to it, don’t let them feel you are just sweeping their issue under a rug. Or, in the case of tile or wood floors, under a piece of furniture. Anyway, keep the communication flowing. Even if you don’t have an answer, let them know you are still working on it and what steps have been taken.
Involve the customer in the resolution
Once you have marshalled all your resources and saved the day, seek feedback from the customer. Give them the opportunity to make sure the outcome is what they expected. Is everything working again for them? Is there anything else you can do? Keeping the customer involved throughout the process further reinforces your commitment to a favorable resolution.
So now you are done. Case closed. Right? WRONG! Follow up with the customer to make sure everything is still working as expected and that the problem hasn’t reared its ugly head again. Taking time to follow up is an integral part of the resolution process. It shows the customer that you care. What could be better than that?