I was just on my YouTube channel reading comments. Andrea’s comment made me put down my cup of tea –
“I am struggling. Sometimes I get cursed out five or six times back to back. I’m starting to sound like a robot.☹️”
Like many customer service professionals, Andrea is experiencing what I now call the “COVID-19 Effect.”
Customers are on edge about their money, whether to wear a mask or not, and from cabin fever. Companies are still running behind on shipments, and many contact centers are experiencing extremely high volume. Employees serving customers have pandemic pressures on all sides.
So, what’s the solution? I’m guiding Andrea to respond with transparency and empathy.
By transparency, I mean, tell the truth about any delays your customer will experience.
Empathy is to imagine you’re in the other person’s position and then respond from this perspective. Here are some great empathy and transparency statements to get you started down the path to creating positive conversations with challenging ou customers – without sounding like a robot.
“I know it’s frustrating to have to hold for so long.”
“The pandemic is putting pressure on us in many ways, including our response time. I’m sorry for any inconvenience you may experience.”
“We’re working hard to safely ship, and you may experience order delays.”
“With the spread of COVID-19, online shopping continues to rise dramatically, and we’re experiencing a variety of supply chain disruptions and delays. I realize this is frustrating for you.”
“Yes, I did place you on a brief hold to deal with my three-year-old in a tantrum. You may even hear my dog. Please be patient with us as we adapt to this new normal of working from home.”
As a certified Master Crisis Prevention and De-escalation Instructor, I have the expertise to guide you through the COVID-19 stressful encounters you’re sure to have with customers. If you need help with preempting escalations and de-escalating intense interactions, you can have free access to my De-escalation class on LinkedIn Learning.
To access my no-cost courses for your team, go to Opportunity.LinkedIn.com and select Customer Service Specialist Learning Path, then go to “De-escalating Intense Situations.”