Dealing with Unhappy Customers

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With customers five times more likely to share a bad customer experience than a good one, customer service matters more than ever in the age of social media.

In “Street Smart Disciplines of Successful People: 7 Indispensable Disciplines for Breakout Business Success,” authors John Kuhn and Mark Mullins offer a number of tips for dealing with unhappy customers.

It starts with answering the phone – someone who’s unhappy will be doubly so if they can’t get someone on the other end of the line. When your employees answer, they should be polite and engaging and address the customer by name. Smiling when you speak will bring out a friendlier tone. Be sincere; listen closely and respond with genuine empathy. Give the customer your attention and use phrases like “I see” and “I understand.”

Take responsibility; don’t use phrases that shirk responsibility like “There’s nothing we can do.” And give your people the power to resolve problems, even when it’s not your company’s fault. At the end of the conversation, summarize what you plan to do to address the situation.

And never put someone on hold without first asking – and receiving – their permission.

Adapted from Ten Ways to Disarm Angry Customers by Dennis McCafferty at Baseline Magazine.