5 foolproof ways for agents to deal with difficult customers


Dealing with a difficult customer through a phone call, email, text messages, or social media; can be a challenge to bring about a positive outcome. As a customer experience agent, talking to customers and handling irate complaints is a daily task and a part and parcel of the job profile. The principle remains the same: the agent must focus on the customer at all stages of the company-customer relationship: before, during, and even after the purchase has been made or the issue has been resolved.

Connie Edler once said, “Excellent customer service is the number one job in any company! It is the personality of the company and the reason customers come back. Without customers, there is no company!” While we completely agree, it is important to understand that to achieve happy customers, agents must learn to deal with customers of all natures even if that means the difficult ones. 

Here are some strategies we learnt from agents at VOIZ over the last year, to enhance the quality of customer service while managing and dealing with difficult customers.

Customer type: The Impatient Customer 

The Scenario: The customer may have been waiting in the call queue for longer than usual due to which they may be running late or in a hurry to get their issue resolved. 

Handling Strategy #1: At VOIZ, when this scenario occurs, we make sure the customer knows the amount of effort that is being invested in resolving the issue. By framing the responses in a positive light, backed with minimal apologies, such customers can be handled and converted into satisfied customers.
Customer type: The Angry Customer
The Scenario: The customer may have been repeatedly calling with no solution presented to him or the customer is simply not happy with the result.

Handling Strategy #2: At VOIZ, our agents deal with such customers regularly. So always start off with an apology. Even if it is not warranted, make sure you listen to the customer and then resolve the issue by addressing or breaking down the grievances. Always be quick about it and make sure to not linger as it can give way to further grievances. 
Customer type: The Vague Customer
The Scenario: The customer struggles to convey their point of concern to you. 

Handling Strategy #3: You’ve got to do a lot of digging up here. By asking them specific questions and by presenting them with suitable resolution options and other resources to rectify the situation; will help give the customer a clearer picture of the issue and will help ease the confusion. At VOIZ, these kinds of callers can take a while to resolve but once done, will leave the counter the happiest! But keep an eye on the time taken to resolve the complaint. This is a key metric to many processes. 
Customer type: The Demanding Customer 
The Scenario: The customer tends to zap a lot of energy and time of the agent and most often at the expense of other waiting customers. This sort of customer may be set on a certain solution and may not accept alternative solutions even if those alternatives are a better fit for their needs. 

Handling Strategy #4: In addition to listening to their concerns patiently, be swift to address them. Be transparent and articulate about what works for them and how it can all be arranged better if the suggested solution is followed. If you are unable to offer a solution he deems acceptable, offer to bring in a supervisor or a specialized agent. Some demanding customers are soothed with the prospect of someone in authority handling their concerns or hearing them out. 
Customer type: The Unhappy Customer
The Scenario: Despite your best efforts at solving the problem, the customer is still disgruntled.Handling Strategy #5: When it comes to an unhappy customer, always be polite but also be firm. Listen and always remember to keep your tone calm. Do not show the customer that you are losing your patience and even if you are, do not resort to being dismissive or start panicking. Jump to the solution quickly. Before closing the call, try to build a sense of trust so that they know if they can always count on you to rectify any issue that occurs in the future.

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