Are you an angry customer? Do you have angry clients calling you? Which ever side of the fence you’re on, LISTEN UP! Whether you call customer service, visit a service business, or you are the business in question, we all need to work together to improve the experience of doing business.
On a call to customer service, you usually have an agenda. ie. There’s a reason you’re calling. On the otherside, as a customer service rep, you’re there to understand the agenda being presented and provide solutions. Simple right?
THEN WHY IS EVERYBODY YELLING!?!
Just kidding, not everyone yells, but hopefully you get my point. Why is this interaction so touchy? Chips are on shoulders, we’re walking on thin ice, you can cut the tension with a knife, etc. Why do we have to tip-toe around and be so scared to have this interaction? When there is a problem, it should be voiced, addressed, and resolved. Bing-Bang-Boom. Done.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen nearly as much as it should. A recent call to DirecTV’s Customer Service shows both what should and shouldn’t happen. I noticed incorrect charges on my bill so I called in with an agenda: get those removed from my bill. After holding for a short time, I got a gentleman with a heavy accent and what seemed to be an annoyed tone. We exchanged salutations and I started telling him what my issue was. Before I was finished, he cut me off, saying he needed my account number before we proceed–really? you need it before I proceed to tell you my issue? really? I gave him my phone number and we went through verifying my account. Afterward, he asked me what I had called in about. I was fairly frustrated because I had already told him part of it and we wouldn’t have to go through this question again if he had but listened. After listening, he said that he couldn’t help me. WTF. WTF. Why would you waste my time like that?
So what we see so far is the situation I’ve been complaining about. A call to customer service with an agenda, the rep failing to acknowledge the agenda and ultimately wasting time and not taking care of the issue. Chips are now flying off of shoulders, people are getting angry, and the situation is going to hell in a hand-basket.
After wasting my time, I ask to speak to someone who can help me since the person I’m speaking to is obviously incompetent. I’m transfered to a cheerful woman who asks me how my day is going. I tell her my issue and she apologizes, asks for my account info, solves the problem by crediting my account in the same amount and correcting the issue that caused it in the first place. While there was down time, she asked me about my interest in sports (evident by the package I purchased) and continued a conversation about college football teams in my area. She completed the call after hearing my agenda — at this point it was not just the incorrect billing but it was also the annoyance of speaking to an incompetent person earlier, addressing it — she acknowledged my billing issue and the annoyance in my voice, and resolving it — she made me feel important for calling and showed that she cared by finding out something about me and having a decent conversation, and she took care of the billing issue.
Thanks to the DirecTV experience, we see both ends of the spectrum. Whenever we call customer service, we should always see three things happen with our problems: we should be able to voice them, they should be addressed, and they should be resolved. If this happens, we won’t see chips falling off shoulders, instead the chips will stop showing up all together and we can all live in a civilized world of service.
Have you ever felt like your customers don’t get you? They just don’t understand the service you’re providing? They keep calling in upset or frustrated? Your customer loyalty is non existent? You get BBB complaints every other day, chargebacks on the off days, and your Google SERP is loaded with bad reviews?
Don’t worry! That doesn’t necessarily mean that you and your Customer Service reps suck….
…maybe it does.
But still, never fear! You can fix that! My “easy” 2 step process will get you, your customer service reps, and your company back on it’s feet:
Every Customer Care or Customer Service Team needs the right attitude & strategy to improve client perception. If you’re in the situation above, you’re either lacking one or all of these. Also, if you’re going to try to fix your public opinion, you may want to review some do’s and don’ts of responding in public forums. But before you do that, let’s take care of the underlying problems:
I’m going to avoid the whole Service with a Smile discussion because it has become so cliche. In fact, most of your reps probably won’t believe it anyway. So instead, lets discuss what that really means.
First and foremost, it means that when your talking with someone using only vocal ques (no body language/facial expression) the inflection used and the words selected are the only way to convey emotion. This emotion can be positive or negative (Despite popular belief, there is no neutral ground here. You’re either moving one way or the other) Many of my reps have claimed to be able to display the positive emotion even though they don’t have a smile. Though some people feel that they can act enough to win an academy award, it’s much easier to just be happy to begin with.
So how do we get them to be happy? Well, some have tried throwing money at them (raises/bonuses), others have put incentives or perks in place (parties, free lunch), but I think Tony Hsieh has has really hit the nail on the head by attacking the root issue. Tony is the CEO of Zappos which, in my opinion, has one of the best customer experiences in the world. If you take a chance to tour his company, you’ll notice that everyone there truly loves to work there, truly cares for each other, and truly cares about their customers. They simply foster a culture of Happiness.
If you’re able to foster this type of culture, the rest will come easy. If you’re not there yet, figure this out before you move on! Here are some places for you to start: Happier by Tal Ben-Shahar, Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh, & How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Alright. Now that everyone is happy, lets discuss some strategy. How are we going to approach our angry customers? Here’s a list of how to get things done.
With the right attitude and the right strategy, you now have the right base to start an excellent customer service experience.