7 Comebacks for the Customer Who Cusses at You

To get straight to the 7 Comebacks for the Customer Who Cusses at You, head to the end of this post. I won’t be offended at all. But if you have a minute, I’d like to tell you about my weekend first, and the conversation that inspired this post, addressing customers who swear.

It’s been a busy time for me with work lately, but I made enjoyment and family the priority over the weekend. Last week was dedicated to preparing for a keynote for the wonderful folks at F&M Bank. I delivered the keynote on Saturday and it was so very well received. God was with me!

After my keynote, I met up with my daughter and we walked to a lovely vegan-friendly restaurant in downtown Oklahoma City. My daughter had already eaten, so she enjoyed a decadent dessert while I savored every bite of my Cauliflower Steak lunch, with kale gremolata, and scarlet quinoa with apples and squash. I loved it!

fullsizerender Continue reading “7 Comebacks for the Customer Who Cusses at You”

The Most Crushing Mistake Most Customer Service People Make: Not Being Friendly o_O

shocked customer service representative

On the way into my office this morning I stopped to get coffee and breakfast for my team. I don’t do this often enough. When I managed a call center, I would regularly pick up donuts or pastries. I have to do better in my own company. Do you bring treats in for your team? If so, how often do you do it? I need the motivation to get back in gear.

I wanted to treat my small team today for working so hard over the weekend and yesterday into the evening on the big project of moving our entire eLearning roster and training modules to a new hosting site.

My first stop was at a fast food restaurant. I pulled up to the window, and this is what I heard. “Welcome to _____. Order when you’re ready.” The welcome, if you can call it that, was delivered loudly, matter-of-factly, and it even suggested that I needed to hurry up and order, and not wait until I was ready.

I placed my first order. I barely finished my sentence when the person said; “Your total is $5.12 at the first window.” I still had several more items to order! When I awkwardly said, “I actually have more things I’d like to pick up today.” the lady said, “Go ahead when you’re ready.”

I finished up this tedious ordering process, and 10 minutes later I was in the drive-thru at Starbucks, which is next door to the fast food place.

I pull up to the Starbucks drive-thru, and I am greeted with: Continue reading “The Most Crushing Mistake Most Customer Service People Make: Not Being Friendly o_O”

Here’s How to Respond to the Customer Who Asks to Speak to Your Supervisor

Women with headsets working at a call center

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 customer service professionals.

According to Newsweek magazine, the stress level of customer service representatives is comparable to that of air-traffic controllers and police officers.  To be clear, the role of customer service now ranks as one of the 10 most stressful jobs in the U.S.

One of the things I’m working on right now is how to find ways to relieve the stress contact center agents face on a daily basis. It’s hard to get verbally abused daily and to have to deal with constant phone calls and emails all day.

Dealing with the customer who demands to speak to your supervisor is stressful. The right approach to this customer will result in a less stressful situation for you.

What not to do when a customer asks to speak to a supervisor

  1. When a customer asks to talk to a supervisor, don’t refuse. That’s what is known as “pushing.” If a customer is pressed, they will push back. Meaning they will be more difficult.
  2. Don’t only say, “Ok. Hold while I transfer you.” You don’t want to sound dismissive or flippant. Besides, you are a customer service professional. You are paid for your expertise, diplomacy, and knowledge. You know, I know, and your supervisor knows that you have all the skill you need to help any customer that shows up on your phone. So, make a reasonable effort to try to help the customer.

What to Say to the Customer Who Asks to Speak to a Supervisor: The “U S A Method”

Try responding to the customer who asks to speak to your supervisor using the U S A method.

USA stands for …

  • Understanding Statement. Don’t say anything to the customer who asks for a supervisor without first demonstrating that you fully understand their frustration (or whatever it is they are feeling). It is essential that the customer feels you know the inconvenience or problem they have experienced. If they don’t feel you understand what they are feeling, they may become more difficult, and the call will most likely escalate.
  • Situation. Explain the situation. That is, explain that you can and would very much like to help the customer.
  • Action. Convey to the customer that if you aren’t able to help them, you will let them speak to a supervisor. That is the action you commit to taking.

U S A in action…

So, right out of the gate your customer asks to speak with a supervisor. Here’s how you could respond using U S A:

Understanding Statement:

“I respect your request to talk to a supervisor.”

Situation:

“My supervisor is counting on me to do my job and resolve problems our customers encounter. Will you give me an opportunity to try to solve the problem before we go any further?”

Or

“Will you give me a chance to try and resolve this for you. That’s why I’m here.”

Action:

“If after speaking with me, you are still unhappy, I’ll immediately connect you with my supervisor. How does that sound?”

This is not a “magic wand” approach, but in many cases, when you demonstrate empathy with an understanding statement, explain the situation, and tell the customer what you can do, you will be doing your very best.

When you respond to the request for a supervisor with the USA method, you will find that fewer calls have to be escalated to your supervisors and that you are more confident in your response.

In this video, I three additional tips for de-escalation.

Imagine sitting in a local coffee shop that’s nestled in a bookstore, and talking over a latte with Myra about ways to help your employees deliver the best possible customer experience and ways to help reduce stress on your employees as they deal with demanding customers.

Every week, often literally from a coffee shop, Myra gives you ideas that in one way or another is actionable towards improving your customer experience.

Sign up and join Myra over coffee every week.

 

The Psychology of Customer Anger (Flashback Friday)

Flashback Friday! My kids used to post Throwback Thursday and Flashback Friday photos on Instagram. They don’t  do that anymore. In fact, they spend more time on Snapchat than on Instagram.

Well, I’m doing a Flashback post of my own – even if flashback posts are out of style.

I joined YouTube in 2007 and one of the first videos I published was “The Psychology of Customer Anger.”

That cheesy video has gotten over 60,000 views. I cringe when I look at the quality of the video and my style in front of the camera. My son laughed out loud when he came into my office last night and I had the video up.

I look so different from back then, nearly 10 years ago. I’ve lost weight, like 30 pounds. I wear my hair kinky curly. I like to think I’m more controlled and poised in front of the camera.

But my strategies haven’t changed. Not much anyway. I’m taking a risk and posting this Flashback Friday video because one, some or all of these tips just may help you get an angry customer to back down.

Try not to laugh too hard.

Continue reading “The Psychology of Customer Anger (Flashback Friday)”

New Training Teaches Conversational Aikido to Help Those Handling Difficult Customers

Creating calm with difficult customers is not a matter of using aggressive tactics. It’s also not about letting the customer vent until they cool off or you being a doormat. There are definite tactics, deployed strategically, that will position any customer service professional to create calm, defuse anger and assertively control conversations.

Aikido

Introducing…

How to Handle Difficult Customers Using Verbal Aikido

5 Aikido Principles for Creating Calm, Defusing Anger and Moving to Closure with Difficult Customers

In this special online workshop Myra reveals the 5 Conversational Aikido principles she has adapted from her 15-year study of the martial art Aikido. Employees will walk away from this workshop with specific Aikido techniques and tactics to create calm, take control of the call, defuse anger and move the call to closure. Myra’s Aikido principles have earned rave reviews from such clients as Johnson & Johnson, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Ally Financial, Nationwide, the Insurance Consumer Affairs Exchange and more. Continue reading “New Training Teaches Conversational Aikido to Help Those Handling Difficult Customers”