How Do You Handle Customers?
If your work involves customer handling, you would know how it can sometimes get really hard to keep them satisfied. Not just them, what with customer complaints, time-consuming discussions held by indecisive customers, managers bossing you around, and unusual requests, even your own sanity seems to be dangling by a thread on bad days.
However, if you don’t walk into your workplace fully prepared, you will be headed for disaster. This article will walk you through the tried and tested steps of handling various types of customers with the right ratio of elegance and tactic and also highlight how Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software can help you handle customers.
Try making a few of these suggestions, if not all, your customer-handling habits:
- Own your ability to serve customers well.
While in your customer-facing job, you may not be treated in a way that portrays the recognition of your personal ability, but you must realize and believe in your capabilities. Take pride in what you’re capable of and how much you have evolved and grown as business. That self-recognition and appreciation go a long way towards contentment and growth.
- Make a positive impression.
Put effort into presenting your best self while handling customers, not giving them any chance to not be satisfied with your efforts. Dress neatly, walk confidently, make eye contact, and speak in a loud and clear voice. Let your aura speak for itself. CRM software is a great tool for improving customer experience, while also keeping customer data organized and accessible across departments.
- Don’t forget to smile.
Make sure to smile while greeting every new customer, your colleague, and even your higher-ups. Smiling can change the environment way more than you will expect, as it allows people to feel better about themselves and lowers the stress felt in workplace environments otherwise.
- Leave emotions out of customer interactions.
Keep it in mind that the customers don’t know you on a personal basis, therefore you don’t need to worry about your personal life matters while dealing with them. Doing this will allow you to perform well at work even if the day wasn’t the sunniest when you first woke up.
- Compartmentalize experiences.
See unpleasant experiences with customers as isolated events. Learn from them but do not let one experience get in the way of another interaction. This is also a great example of CRM use for business with customers, as a CRM can help you organize customer information so that you always know where they stand with your business in terms of recent sales and service interactions.
- Be empathetic.
Make it a habit to take all your customers seriously. Avoid getting rude or ignorant, at all costs. Treat every complaint as a serious issue, no matter how minor it may seem. This will allow the customer to see your concern and continue to maintain a relationship with your business.
- Avoid rushing unsatisfied customers.
Although time is of the essence and giving too much time to one customer may seem to prolong dealing with the rest but rushing one customer will only prolong their issue and in the long-run cost you both more time and their dissatisfaction.
How Do You Apologize to a Frustrated Customer?
We all know that the word ‘sorry’ isn’t the only ingredient for a wholesome and heartfelt apology. There are several types of CRM systems, and many leading vendors offer systems specifically tailored to customer experience and organization of data. Here is the recipe to make a true apology and win back a previously frustrated and potentially lost customer:
- Understand your mistake.
Start off with understanding what made the customer upset. A thorough understanding of your mistake will lead to a better apology. Put yourself in the shoes of the frustrated person on the other end of the phone.
Try to understand why they are upset. Is it because they didn’t get a product/service worth their money or because they lost their time and money and didn’t get a solution to their problem? Modern tools enable you to look at any and all past conversations with that customer, so you don’t miss out on any important details.
- Use explanations, not excuses.
When something goes wrong on your end, explain your side of the story to the customer. Let them know that you accept things didn’t go as planned but share the context with them. Bringing them into the loop will gain their trust and improve the situation. Also, avoid making any excuses, as it will only damage your relationship with that customer.
- Present a reasonable and timely solution.
An apology alone isn’t enough. Your customers need to know what you will do when things go wrong. You need to devise solutions that are practical and achievable, so your customers know that you’re going to act, and you must do what you promise them of. Only then, you can expect to develop strong ties with your customers.
How Do You Handle Angry Customers?
One of the reasons why companies use CRM is because customers today expect businesses to deliver top-notch services, in time, with competitive pricing and not make the slightest of mistakes. If you need to handle an angry customer, practice the following steps to make the situation better.
- Avoid passive listening and practice active listening techniques.
- Acknowledge the problem and apologize for your mistake.
- Stay calm.
- Develop trust.
- Refrain from using negative language and maintain positive body language.
- Segregate work from your personal life and focus solely on the current situation.
- Resolve the problem and share your findings.
How Do You Handle Customers?
Customers are the true focus of any business, and one of the benefits of CRM software is it streamline all the internal operations you need to support good customer relationships. They are the ones that keep it running so you need to ensure that you are handling your customers properly.
While you attract new customers with your attractive and unique offerings and pricing tactics, you retain them with your customer handling techniques. SAP offers helpful CRM tools for customer service, retention, and sales, and can serve as a good benchmark for enterprise-grade tools for enterprise companies to compare CRM options.
Only if you treat your customers right will you be able to develop and maintain loyal relationships with them. If you are new to handling customers or just looking for more ideas to improve your handling, here are a few tested tips:
- Listen and acknowledge.
There are times when a customer is simply confused and just needs to know that you’re listening. Instead of dismissing them, hear them out, try to understand their confusion and cater to them as best as you can.
- Apologize when/if you are wrong.
If you make a mistake, do not waste your own time and the customer’s time in finding excuses or shifting blame, instead simply admit. Tell them what you’re going to do about it and keep a positive attitude.
- Make your customer feel valued.
Hear out the queries of your customers and guide them the best you can. Customers need to feel heard and valued or they will feel uncomfortable and not want to bring their business to you. Many BPO companies rely on CRM and Contact Center software for properly managing customer relationships in a call center setting.
- Anticipate customer needs.
Communicate with your customers so you know what they need and what more you can offer to cater to their problems and requirements.
- Stay poised.
Staying composed, particularly in difficult situations, can have a calming effect on others around you (in this case, your customers). If you will stay poised, your customers will respect you as a professional and trust that you have everything under control.
- Make yourself available.
In these times, customer support is offered beyond live interactions and phone chats. Make sure to have a social media presence and try to reply as promptly as possible to any queries and complaints registered on your social media platforms. Your customers will feel more connected to you if you make yourself available.
- Offer realistic solutions.
Design a list of redeeming offers in case a customer is unsatisfied due to some mistake on your end. This could be cashback, product exchange, or coupons. Decide the scenarios where these remedies can be offered and try to settle an upset customer with these offers.
- Look for ways to help.
Doing business with you should be easy or both your old and potential customers will shy away. Whenever customers reach out for help, ensure them that you will figure out a solution and then work with your team to fix their problem.
- Know your limits.
There are certain requests you can’t fulfill, learn to admit when it is beyond your control. Help your customer find an alternative solution and they will appreciate the effort you put in.
- Ask for customer feedback.
Set up email or follow-up phone calls, or a suggestions box to provide your customers a chance to give you their valuable feedback. Learn and make improvements using that feedback.
How Do You Handle Difficult Customers?
Not all customers are easy to handle, however, the good news is that often difficult and even upset customers are affected due to psychological stimuli and isolated situations that aren’t always related to your business. A disadvantage of CRM software is that it doesn't automatically manage difficult customers, but it can arm your support and sales teams with critical data needed to service customers and drive sales and retention. If you throw your arms down and give up, you will lose their business, but if you put on your charming professional’s cape and make use of these wonderful tips, you can handle most of the difficult customers brilliantly:
- Try reflective listening.
Instead of giving repetitive and unhelpful replies try to practice reflective listening which requires you to understand what the other person is really saying by interpreting both their verbal account and their body language. Only after completely analyzing the whole situation, you may respond by reflecting your thoughts and trying to make the customer feel heard and understood.
- Tap into the Zen mind.
Instead of worrying about how every situation and outcome ‘should be’ try to tap the zen mind, which means indulging in every situation as if you were a beginner. It requires you to become a part of every genuine conversation without any judgments and be open to the likelihood of any scenario. This way you will try to solve any problem without it being affected by your previous experiences and other external stimuli.
- Focus more on listening than immediately fixing.
Often we try to jump into situations and immediately try ‘fixing’ them. You must understand that before you offer a possible solution, it is important to just listen and understand first.
- Segment the problem into manageable steps or outcomes.
Some problems may seem impossible at first but if you segmentalize them into smaller, more understandable chunks, they become easier to comprehend, process, and solve. When you seem more in charge of the problem and its solution, your customer will automatically feel better.
- Utilize your customer support resources.
When you need some help with customer handling, make use of some common customer support saviors such as keeping the customer on a strategic hold to calm them down and get some time to devise a solution, take a senior or a fellow colleague’s input on a situation, etc.
How Do You Politely Tell a Customer They are Wrong?
Customers choose to keep going back to businesses that offer great customer service, which makes the need to keep customers happy, more important than ever. However, every now and then a customer isn’t right in their demands, and you need to tell them that they are wrong.
While most of us have been nurtured to believe that the customer is always right, agreeing with them for a short-term transaction of an unworthy product does not make lasting and profitable business relationships. Let’s discuss the types of situations when customers are wrong and how to solve them.
- The Situation
The first situation involves irate customers who are loud and stubborn, and while you know they are wrong, it is hard to tell them that.
The other situation handle is when customers are asking for an ‘ideal solution’ based on incorrect or incomplete information gathered through unreliable platforms.
- The Solution
The fine way of telling your customer that they are wrong is to patiently hear them out to disagree with grace and continue with a productive conversation with the ending note being an alternative solution. Seek permission for presenting alternative solutions, and explain why these are better options.
What are the 5 Steps to Handling a Customer Complaint?
Those whose work requires customer handling need to put with lots of difficult people and situations, and for them handling complaints is a critical component of maintaining trusted customer support and business longevity.
Not handling a customer complaint properly can lead to loss of business, as behind each complaint is a real person and an existing customer of your products and/or services. The right way to look at complaints is to treat them as essential customer feedback that requires attention and rectifying action.
This will help you to retain not only that customer but also many others who have experienced that problem but have not complained.
Research by Esteban Kolsky shows that 91% of unhappy customers stay silent.
Therefore, it is important to handle customer complaints like professionals, and here are a few tips to help you do just that:
- Listen to the customer.
Make time to listen to the customer and understand their concern, instead of hastily responding.
- Empathize with the customer.
Empathize with their experience and assure them that you have taken note and you will ensure their problem will be solved.
- Propose a solution.
Offer a realistic and achievable solution. It doesn’t have to be exactly what the customer is asking for, but it should be doable and should serve the purpose.
- Execute the solution.
Solve the issue either in the way the customer requested or with the alternative approach that you presented if they agreed to it.
- Double-check for customer satisfaction.
Once you have fixed their problem, make sure to follow up and ensure that the customer is now satisfied.