“Ms. Golden, I wasn’t able to get your credit card to go through.” (How to Handle a Customer’s Declined Credit Card)


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This article is about how to handle a customer’s credit card

After a long day of travel, I stepped out of my Uber and walked into the lobby of the Marriott on Bloor street in downtown Toronto. A friendly lady looked up, made eye contact and welcomed me with her smile.

“Myra Golden; checking in” I said, somehow smiling back in spite of my travel fatigue. “I recognize that accent” she said. I’m thinking, no way she recognizes my Oklahoma accent; not here in Toronto. “Where are you from?” “Oklahoma” I could tell by her wide eyes that she did, in fact, recognize my accent. “That’s it! My aunt is from Oklahoma and you talk just like her!”  Wow, she knows her dialects.

We chatted about her aunt, what brought me to Toronto, and vegan restaurants in the area. While we talked, my phone was buzzing. Probably my husband ensuring I arrived safely. I always text or call him once I get to my hotel. Because I was so engrossed in our conversation, I didn’t stop to check my phone.

Then, at a break in conversation, the lady discretely said, with an empathic smile, I’m having trouble getting your credit card to go through.” I was shocked. Surprised. Feeling panic. It was a debit card, actually, and I knew I had more than enough money to cover a few nights in a hotel in Ontario. What the heck was going on? “I ran it a couple of times.” she said, with empathy in her eyes. Continue reading

How to Handle a Customer’s Declined Credit Card

Yesterday I presented a keynote for Progressive Business. My aim was to position customer service professionals to go out of their way to make customers feel good. During the Q & A an attendee asked:

 “How to do you handle a declined credit card and still make the customer feel good?”

I explained to the attendee, and the entire audience, that in this situation you want to go out of your way to make the customer feel good and comfortable.  A declined credit card is awkward for you and embarrassing for them, but if you go out of your way to put the customer at ease, you can make the absolute best of this challenging situation. I encouraged my attendee to say something like, “I swiped your card, but I’m sorry, it didn’t go through. Do you happen to have another form of payment you’d like to use?” I cautioned that her tone needed to be discrete, positive, and warm.

After my keynote, I found a YouTube video that is a great response to the “How do you handle a declined credit card” question. If you deal with credit cards from customers, you may find this helpful.

Getting a “declined” message back on a customer’s credit card is awkward for you and embarrassing for the customer. But your discrete, positive, and warm response will leave the customer feeling good and comfortable.