Does your company deal with difficult customers? Of course it does! Every company faces challenging interactions with customers who are angry, frustrated, or just have naturally combative personalities.
How your receptionist handles these calls makes all the difference in the world to your business. A happy customer usually tells just one to three other people about their positive view of your company. But an unhappy customer? They’ll easily tell 10 people about their negative experience.
And that’s just in person. On Facebook, they’ll talk about it to an average of 338 friends. On Twitter, they’ll tell about 700 followers. And just one powerful social media influencer can change the minds of 16 million people.
That’s very bad for business – but don’t get discouraged. With virtual reception services, you can blunt the impact of unhappy people.
When someone calls your company feeling angry, the last thing you want to do is prolong their frustration. Don’t put them on hold, make them navigate a complicated menu, or ask them to leave a voicemail. This person is already a ticking time bomb.
Now is the time to act fast. Provide a talented virtual receptionist who can listen to their problem and understand what went wrong. Your receptionist should make them feel that their complaint is the top priority at that moment.
Don’t Allow Repetition
When frustrated customers are forced to repeat their story over and over again to different people, their anger only grows. It gives the impression that your company is stringing them along, wasting their time.
Train your receptionists how to handle complaints quickly. Their questions should be specific, but gentle. Encourage them to use language that shifts difficult customers from using negative emotional terms to more positive words and ideas.
For example, if a customer says, “I am sick and tired of bad service!” the receptionist could say, “I’m so sorry. How can we make this better for you?”
From there, a detailed record should be created and archived in your system so this person will never have to repeat the same sad story again. Help them focus on moving forward to something more positive.
Remember the power of saying, “I’m sorry.” Your angry and difficult customers want to hear your receptionist genuinely apologize on behalf of your company.
In fact, a heartfelt apology will often defuse a volatile customer in a matter of moments. When they hear a warm, human voice sounding sorry, they can take a breath and calm down.
Tone is important in showing sympathy. You don’t want to sound skeptical or irritated. A sarcastic remark like, “Well sir, I’m real sorry about that” could cause your company to lose the customer forever.
This is one of the huge benefits of using a professional reception service, rather than having your employees answer the phone. A busy employee might be caught off-guard by a difficult customer. Without thinking, they could say something unprofessional. A highly-trained virtual receptionist would never make the same mistake.
Provide a Real Solution
It’s extremely important that you don’t handle frustrated customers by making empty promises. Your receptionists must be empowered to offer real solutions to customers’ complaints.
For example, build special codes into the customer management system that provide instant discounts at the receptionist’s discretion. When your receptionist can tell that nothing will make a customer happy except receiving a discount, they can offer 20 percent off the next order and preserve the customer relationship.
And don’t just give discounts. Get to the bottom of things. Maybe your employees are over-booking appointments. Maybe a subcontractor is letting you down. Maybe there’s a new competitor in the market who’s making you look bad.
Receptionists should be able to record the exact causes of customer complaints so that you can examine this data and address root problems.
It might seem strange to thank a customer for being difficult. But even an angry customer is spending their time communicating with your company. The feedback is valuable.
Your receptionist can say something like, “Thanks so much for bringing this to our attention, Mr. Jones. I’ll make sure our owner hears about this.”
By ending the interaction on an appreciative note, the customer feels that they’ve been heard and that something will be done about the situation. Your company has a chance of saving this customer and keeping them coming back to your company.
If you need help managing difficult customers, turn to Reliable Receptionist. We provide live virtual receptionists who are experts at turning your complainers into happy, loyal clients.