You already know it’s best to not say words like “Unfortunately,” or a hard “no,” and you probably even know that you need to let angry customers vent for at least a few seconds, but there are some other things you should know before trying to get customers to accept your word as final, especially when you have to give customers bad news. I’m sharing three tactics from my handling demanding customers workshops to help you assertively (and politely) control challenging interactions with customers.
1. Don’t undermine your authority by mentioning “your supervisor.”
I had an employee who, when trying to assert her authority with challenging customers, would say things like, “Only a supervisor can make a decision for that amount,” “That’s over my head,” or “If I can’t help you, I’m happy to let you talk to my supervisor.”
What my employee was doing, certainly without realizing it, was priming customers to escalate up to a supervisor. The mere mention of supervisor and the suggestion that some decisions were “over her head,” psychologically nudged customers to do just that, go over her head to talk to a supervisor who was clearly the only person able to move the needle on the customer’s issue.
So, don’t prime customers by dropping words and expressions that say there’s someone above you more capable of making decisions. Assert your authority with confidence, like I had my call center agents do when customers got upset about not being able to use a debit card to rent a vehicle. “When renting from us, a credit card in the name of the renter must be presented at the time of rental; otherwise, debit and check cards are accepted as a form of payment at the time of return.”
2. Acknowledge how your customer feels by linking the communication chain
Continue reading “3 Things to Know Before You Talk to Your Next Challenging Customer”
Every week I set aside three uninterrupted hours to work on me. In this “Strategic Block,” a term coined in the book “12 Week Year,” I don’t allow emails, calls, or meetings, and no regular business tasks. I focus solely on personal or professional development.
Pulling back from the hustle and grind to self-develop gives me energy and creativity to come back and own my week, and I promise you, this exercise will help you boss up, too.
In this week’s Strategic Block, I’m working my way through week eight of the twelve-week “Artist’s Way” course, while I explore a new coffee, “Oddly Correct.”
Here are some things I’ve done in my Strategic Blocks:
Continue reading “How Pulling Away for 3 Hours a Week Can Actually Make You More Productive”
Twelve years ago, I created a vision board. On it, I had a specific vehicle, a goal of annual family vacations, antique office furniture, a whole new backyard, including patio furniture, and a playground for my kids, and a few other coveted things. I manifested every image I tacked on my board. EVERYTHING.
The success of my vision board is a lot like a project I’m working on with some of my clients.
When I work with customer service and marketing teams to improve customer interactions, I always ask some form of these questions: Continue reading “The Miracle Of Visualizing, Planning, And Executing Your Best Customer Experience Yet – Through Quality Monitoring”
How to Handle Difficult Customers (with a focus on de-escalation)
Training Length: 30 minutes, with knowledge checks
Thanks to the Internet and social media, customers are savvier now than ever before. Although this sounds like a good thing, the net result is an increase in stress for frontline customer service professionals. According to Newsweek magazine, the stress level of consumer services professionals is comparable to that of air-traffic controllers and police officers. In short, the role of customer service now ranks as one of the 10 most stressful jobs in the U.S.
Creating calm with difficult customers is not a matter of using aggressive tactics. It’s also not about employees being a doormat, giving in to customer demands or escalating to a supervisor. This training is about how to take assertive control, create calm and pre-empt escalations.
- The 3-step process politicians, police chiefs, and CEOs use to de-escalate a crisis situation and how you can use these same steps to de-escalate conversations with difficult customers.
- Exactly what to say to the customer who demands to speak to a supervisor. This method is polite and effective.
- You cannot ignore a customer’s expression of anger – find out why.
- The psychology of anger – Understand what is going on in the mind of your angry customer.
- Three things angry people want – knowing these things is the most powerful way to preempt an escalation.
- The outcome of this training is employees walk away with specific techniques to create calm, take control of the call, defuse anger and move the call to closure.
“In regards to your eLearning course, your coaching has immensely helped me with a few difficult calls these past three weeks. The particular course that was pivotal to these calls was your “How to De-escalate” section.”
–Anna Hoang, Customer Support Specialist I, Vertafore
“I have had the pleasure and the privilege of attending several seminars given by Myra Golden. I have come away from each one with valuable knowledge that has assisted me in my job and in my everyday life. I still quote her on many occasions and use her ideas with great success. She is knowledgeable, articulate and dynamic in her delivery. Her warmth and soft style have kept me glued to her every word. Start looking for her name on the seminars you are offered and sign up. You will not be sorry.”
—Ligea Adsit, Former Supervisor, Customer Care, Thrifty Rent-A-Car System, Inc.
Single License for How to Handle Difficult Customers (with a focus on de-escalation) – $50 for a Limited Time!
Purchase single license for How to Handle Difficult Customers
We all go through times when we’re not feeling the whole work thing. The mere thought of work brings on dread, we mop ourselves into the office later and later, and our eyes are rolled to the back of our head more often than not. These are all signs that we’re burned out or morale is very low.
If you’re a supervisor or manager and you see signs of work exhaustion in your people, you need to act fast, or you might lose your people to burnout, or another job. I’ve had depleted employees, and I’ve been the used up person (even in my current position).
Here are three things I know for sure meaningfully motivate employees. I know these ideas work because I’ve used them in call centers I’ve managed, and right here at Myra Golden Seminars.
1. Plan a Team Building Outing
I keep things spicy at Myra Golden Seminars by regularly getting the team out for fun. We’ve done escape rooms, painting with wine in hand, and I once brought in a game from my childhood home, Simon, which gave way to energy and belly laughs. Look for ways to bring your team together outside of work.
2. Highlight What They Do Well
Continue reading “3 Things I Know For Sure Motivate Customer Service Employees”
My daughter and I were exploring supplements at Whole Foods on Saturday. I’d grabbed Matcha powder, MCT oil, and ground flaxseed. An employee with happy robin eyes spotted my bounty and whispered a tip, “If you can wait a few days, all of our supplements are going to be 25% off August 2-4, and Prime members get an additional 10% off. I can get you a bag and hold your items for you if you like.”
I needed the ground flaxseed for a vegan recipe, but the other times could wait. “That’s so generous of you to share! Yes, I’d like to start a bag, please,” I said, shocked by the employee’s helpful tip, and grateful. My little bag was chock-full when I handed it back to the happy-eyed employee to hold for me until Friday.
The Whole Foods employee used a technique that I call the “What else?” approach. This technique is to think of what else can I do/offer to make this experience the best it can be? I’ve had three recent happy experiences of front-line customer service employees asking “what else?” with me. Let’s quickly look at these situations, and then I hope you’ll take my challenge of asking “what else” you can do to surprise and delight your customers. Continue reading “How Merely Asking Yourself, “What Else?” Will Transform Your Customer Experience”