Customer Support is More Than Saying “I’m Sorry”

The dynamics of Customer support have undergone tremendous changes in the past few decades. In case of a physical interaction with customer a courtesy smile along with a formal hand shake was the standard norm earlier.

But in todays’ business context there is more to a formal handshake and customary smile. Humans are social beings and hence lot of different aspects come into play during an interaction between them. Some of these aspects include, social status, sex, age etc. In a business interaction, customer always feels he has the upper hand and business also treats him likewise.

This does not mean that business has to say “I’m sorry” and take all the abuse from customer in case it fails to meet customer’s expectations. It is understandable that customer is frustrated and it is also understandable that business has its own strong reasons for failing to meet customer’s expectations. A skilled customer service representative can bring about a positive outcome from this entire episode with his talent and negotiation skills. Let’s delve into those critical skills which come into play while handling tricky situations with customers.

Skills to handle tricky situations with customers

Communication skills:

Communication is not just answering questions and replying to the customer. It is being clear and concise in each interaction and every interaction with customer. These skills definitely come into play especially at the time of managing a dissatisfied customer.

Both the customer and the customer support agent is aware that customer has the upper hand in the business transaction. However, the agent with the help of his communication skills should choose his words carefully and tame the customer.

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Patience:

Patience is a virtue and it is not easy to come by. However, it is very essential while providing free help desk software. There is an exhaustive list of what cannot be achieved by being impatient. However, let’s explore to see why patience is so important and how does it benefit or if it does benefit customer support.

Majority of the customers contact the business seeking help. Based on the urgency of their need, some of them could be frustrated and some of them could be less frustrated. It is human tendency to show the frustration on other person when something is not working while it is expected to work.

The customer service agent attending to the frustrated customer should consider the bigger picture rather than adopting the tit for tat approach and showing equal level of frustration over the customer.

There are three possible outcomes in the above scenario of frustrated customer contacting the customer support team. In the first possible outcome, the agent straight away requests the customer to stay online and transfers the call to his supervisor. The second possible outcome could be that the agent bluntly denies entertaining customer’s request which further infuriates the customer and he disconnects the call.

The final and ideal outcome is that the agent handles the customer and pacifies him. At the end of the lengthy call, the customer is happy and the agent is happy. However, the final and positive outcome can only occur when the agent has few more qualities along with patience.

Knowledge of the product:

Knowledge of the product is of utmost importance in the field of customer service. A customer by way of his interaction can easily figure out whether the agent handling him is properly equipped with product information or not. A customer service agent who is ill equipped with product information will unconsciously exhibit his poor knowledge by sounding timid and there is every chance that he will be taken for a ride by the customer.

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Hence, business should always have a sound training and induction process so as to better equip its customer service personnel. Business should also maintain an easily accessible knowledge base that can serve as a quick help guide for its support personnel.

Passion to learn:

It is said that learning is never ending process. Customer service agent should treat each interaction as a learning experience from which there are always take aways. After all, it is a great field which provides a unique opportunity to interact with people of different levels of knowledge, experience, age and social stature.

Diplomacy:

There will be situations where customer has to face a ‘no’ from business and it is definitely not something that customer may want to hear. Unfortunately, customer service agent is the face of the company for customer and he will have to hear the ‘no’ from the customer service agent. And when he does hear, he may burst out. During these times, the customer service agent needs to be diplomatic and help create a positive outcome.

Ownership:

Customers feel a sense of comfort when they are provided with assurance that their issues are being looked after. Customer representatives may not have readymade solutions for all of the issues that customers come across. However, they can request customers for time to get back to them with a possible resolution.

Empathetic:

Being empathetic is a critical factor during the interaction with customer. Customer representative should put himself in the shoes of customer, understand his feelings and try to reach for a possible resolution.

All the above qualities help a customer service representative in bringing about a positive outcome during his interactions with customers.

Further Reading...

Published by Apoorv Bhatnagar

Apoorv Bhatnagar is a Digital marketer at Freshworks Inc. He generally writes about software that improve your marketing, sales or hiring process.

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1 Comment

  1. The introductory paragraph provides a key piece of value. Most times I have seen customer service starts with a sorry before delving into the root cause of the problem. I think it is more about identifying what’s really bothering the customer – almost like a fact finding mission. The problem is usually covered in layers of dissatisfaction, anger and a few other emotions. But the moment you strike the right chord, it provides a real solution which most industries in customer service miss.

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