Bad customer service. It happens to everybody. You’re put on hold long enough for your children to have children, or you need to track an order for a client and their item seems to be somewhere between the Bermuda Triangle and Timbuktu. At KKH, we pride ourselves on providing the absolute best customer service. Today, we’re revealing the way we deal with clients and sharing how you can get the best customer service you need (with the help of some adorable cat GIFs… because why not?).
1 – Do Your Homework
Or as Scar from The Lion King would say, “be prepared.” One of the most frustrating situations for both the customer and the service provider is if either party is ill-prepared for the conversation. If you’re calling as a customer, make sure you have your order number ready along with any other information that has been sent to you. If you’re calling a client to update them, have the forethought to make sure you have the answers to any follow-up questions they might have. But before you even call, go online to research your question first. Although you should never hesitate to call customer service (especially at KKH), most companies and vendors work really hard to provide as much information on their website as possible, and neither party enjoys when customer service becomes a game of “let me Google that for you.” If your question is specific to your order, then definitely call, but let them know you went through the effort of trying to find the answer for yourself first. Simply saying, “I went online and read the FAQ on your return policy, but I was wondering if you could clarify for [insert your particular item and issue here]” will make you a favorite customer. Your efforts won’t go unappreciated, and the more you know about someone’s business, the better you’ll be able to interact with their customer service.
2 – Play Nice
This is not a patronizing statement. It can be really frustrating working with particular clients or companies, and it’s very easy to get worked up. Don’t. We’ve all seen that person screaming at the waiter or yelling over the phone at an employee who potentially has no control over the situation or request. It’s not a pretty sight. As the mantra goes, keep calm and carry on. Be persistent, and respect what your customer service agent does and does not have the authority to do. If you believe you need to talk to a supervisor or manager to resolve your issue, say that, but don’t use it as a scare tactic. Typically, your problem is not the fault of the customer service rep you’re speaking with. Instead, say something like, “I completely understand that this is not your fault and was out of your control. Could you please transfer me to a manager or supervisor who might be able to better help resolve this issue?” Escalating the issue up the chain of command is normal. In fact, it is part of most customer service training. And if your customer service rep did put every effort toward helping you, it never hurts to mention that to a supervisor. You may just make their day.
3 – Pretend You’re in Couples Therapy
Wait…what?? Trust us. Most customer service mishaps come from miscommunication. Use the three steps listed below that actually originate from couple counseling, and you’ll find talking about your customer service issues to be much more manageable:
- Mirroring. When a customer calls and says, “I’m upset because…,” you shouldn’t react by placing blame on them (obviously), nor should you immediately solve the issue. Instead, you should mirror back the words you heard so the customer knows you heard them. Doing this is important because it proves you were listening instead of formulating a response while the other person was speaking.
- Validating. I’m sure you were waiting for this phrase to come up in this article: “the customer is always right.” And while we know this is not always true, you should still always validate the way someone feels. Even if they’re not right, you are connecting with them on a human level. You’re saying, “I get it. I get why you’re upset. I would be upset too.”
- Empathy. After you mirror back their issue and validate their emotions, it’s important to express that you are just as concerned as your client. If your client is upset, just saying, “That’s so horrible, I’m so sorry!” can make all of the difference.
4 – Avoid the Social Attribution Error
What does that mean? Imagine you’re on a bus. It’s crowded and hot. People are shuffling. You accidentally bump into somebody, and they start yelling at you. “Watch where you’re going!” …you can use your imagination for the string of expletives that follow. When this happens, our mind may automatically say, “Wow, that person is a jerk.” We attribute their behavior to them as a person instead of the situation they’re in. For all you know, they just got fired from their job, had their car towed so they had to take the bus, and now they just got shouldered by a stranger. Sure, it doesn’t excuse their behavior, but it doesn’t mean they’re a bad person either. People get stressed. People have bad days. It’s easy to forget this, but this is extremely important to remember whenever a client or customer gets upset with you.
5 – Don’t Make Threats
While it’s perfectly okay (when warranted) to ask for a supervisor or manager, threatening to post to social media or get someone fired is only going to give yourself a bad name. If you are displeased with your customer service, leaving a polite (but honest) review or contacting a supervisor or manager is the best option.