How To Handle The Top 3 Tricky Customer Support Scenarios

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Customer support is often thought to be a fairly simple and repetitive task by people who’ve never worked in the field. However, the reality is that customer support phone representatives are met with difficult and unexpected scenarios every day. Often, the responses to these situations go beyond any call script and usually require a great deal of grace under pressure.

While call scripts provide guidance for how a business prefers their customers are handled, scripts only go so far when it comes to handling unanticipated questions or scenarios. Plus, customers want a conversation, not a robotic, impersonal prewritten script. However, going beyond the script doesn’t have to be unnerving because you feel like you’re winging it. The right tone and word choices can diffuse just about any challenging customer service situation. Let’s take a look at 3 of those scenarios:

  1. The customer is really angry.

Dealing with irate customers is an unavoidable customer support scenario. The key is to maintain a calm tone and stance in the face of the storm. Your goal is to gradually bring the customer to your calm emotional level and to not rise to their agitated emotional level.

  • Let the customer talk without interruption, but indicate you’re listening by saying “ok” or “I see” when they pause.
  • Empathize by saying that you understand how frustrating the situation must be, even if it isn’t your fault.
  • Apologize by saying you’re sorry they’re dealing with this situation, even if it isn’t your fault.
  • Offer to help, even if it’s to say you’ll help them solve the issue by consulting with the right person and by getting back to them before the end of the day.
  1. You don’t have the answer.

No one can have the answer to every single customer support question, but how that’s conveyed makes all the difference in how a customer will react. Saying “I don’t know” or giving an excuse like “I’m new here” does nothing toward helping the customer feel confident they’ll be taken care of correctly. Be honest and put the customer first.

  • Say something along the lines of, “That’s a great question! I’m honestly not sure how to answer it and I don’t want to give you the wrong information.”
  • Suggest a solution, such as, “I’m going ask our tech team (or supervisor, etc) for the correct information. May I call you back with an answer by the end of the business day?”
  1. You made a mistake.

This one is simple. Although it may be human nature to defend ourselves or offer excuses, when we make a mistake the only way to save the customer relationship is to apologize—sincerely and profusely. Trying to place the blame on someone or something else in your company only reflects poorly on both you and your company.

  • Be transparent and acknowledge the mistake. Say something like, “I sincerely apologize, Mary, we’ve made a mistake and I can see how that has to be frustrating for you.”
  • Offer to fix the mistake, whether that means replacing a product, offering a refund, or explaining when and how the issue will be resolved.
  • Thank the customer for bringing the issue to your attention so that you can make sure it doesn’t happen in the future, and ask if there’s anything else you can to do help.

Let’s face it. Delivering great customer service isn’t achieved with a cookie-cutter approach. Tricky scenarios require grace, compassion, knowledge, and often professional training. The live receptionists at an answering service are trained to handle difficult customer service situations like these, and more, every single day.

At Voice Link of Columbus, Inc., we solve these customer support problems so that you don’t have to. We help you deliver the top-notch level of service your customers deserve by managing your calls whenever you need—around the clock, during peak busy hours, or after business hours.

With an 82% referral rate, Voice Link provides live answering services that will exceed your expectations and will keep your customers smiling. Our monthly plans contain no hidden fees and are tailored to suit your unique needs. Request information online or call us at (800) 262-2799 for a free consultation.

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