When a customer reaches out to you about a problem, they usually don’t think things will be easy. They expect to enter a fray.
To customers, it’s them against you.
Visually, it’s like this. There’s a brick wall between you and your customer. You are on one side of the wall, and your customer is on the other.
The customer sees the issue they’re trying to get resolved as being on the same side of the brick wall as you.
To get their issue resolved, customers have to penetrate that brick wall.
To break down the barrier, some customers will merely ask to talk to a supervisor. Some will over talk you. Others will cuss.
It’s up to you to stop your customer’s focus on knocking the bricks down. You have to let your customer know that you’re not on opposite sides. You are indeed on the same side.
The Problem Is the Problem
When customers reach out to you for help, you are not the problem. Also, the customer, no matter what irrational behaviors they may display, is not the problem. The problem is the problem.
Let customers know you are on their side. Say things like:
“I realize this has been frustrating for you.”
“I can see your point on that.”
“We want to get to the bottom of this as much as you do.”
“I understand and will do my best to take care of this for you.”
“I’m sorry this has been your experience.”
“I certainly understand your concern. Let’s take a look and see what’s going on.”
I once had a customer say to me, “Your mama!” (I wish I could tell you I’m embellishing this story. But it really happened.) That day with that customer, she was the problem. I paused, stunned that I was talking to an adult, rolled my eyes, regrouped and tried to regain control using phrases like I’ve shared with you here.
The reality is, the customer hung up on me a few minutes later. These phrases aren’t going to work like a magic wand. However, they’ll get you through most of your situations with demanding customers.
Now you can give your employees even more great skills for delivering the best customer experience and for handling difficult customer situations. Sign up for my email list and learn specific tips, approaches, and phrases to help your employees help your customers.