Customer Service Part II


In the second part of our exploration into good Customer Service, we'll be discussing the importance of empathy in delivering good customer service and tips on dealing with difficult customers. We can do a lot to keep problems from happening in the first place. If you develop your empathizing skills, you can put yourself in the other person's shoes.

Empathy allows us to see things from the perspective of the customer, which helps us to treat them in a way that we would want to be treated if we were in their situation. With empathy comes understanding, and who doesn't want to be understood or understand others better. If you are practicing being empathetic you should avoid phrases like, "I agree" or "Yes, that's true." Don't reinforce a concern, either. You can express your empathy by rephrasing the key topic of the person's statement. Try phrases like, "I hear...", "I understand...", "I think you're saying...". Phrases like these will convey that you are listening attentively  and understand what the customer is saying.

Rephrasing before you answer questions, gives you the opportunity to empathize with the concerns, an opportunity to show the person that you understand the concern, and a moment to think of an appropriate response. It's also important to check that the other person is satisfied with your level of understanding of your explanation. Your ability to empathize will play an important role in your overall communication skills and your ability to foster a positive and productive environment.

Next, we'll give you some tips on how to deal with difficult customers.

  • You are dealing with a customer that is abrupt, speaks quickly, and snaps orders, what do you do?
    • Listen closely
    • Be service oriented
    • Focus on helping them
    • Speak calmly, but firmly.
  • You are dealing with a customer that is verbally abusive and launching personal attacks on you, what do you do?
    • Be quick
    • Refuse to justify yourself
    • Stay calm to diffuse the anger
    • If the situation continues to escolate get your manager involved
    • Record the events.
  • You are dealing with an angry customer that demands immediate action and is loud, what do you do?
    • Listen closely
    • Apologize
    • Ask open-ended questions
    • Stay calm and don't take it personal
    • Remain courteous
    • Propose an action plan - then do it!
  • You are dealing with an arrogant customer that thinks they know it all and has an elitist attitude, what do you do?
    • Know your job and do it well
    • Know your products and services like the back of your hand
    • Be professional and courteous
    • Have a positive response for their negativity

If you remember these things when facing the difficult customers listed above you'll still be able to provide exceptional customer service to everybody you encounter.