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3 Kinds of Tough Customers – How to manage the CSAT without hanging up…


Do you know there are a whopping 497 different kinds of negative customer emotions from customer calls made to our centresthat impact CSAT scores tremendously? This is from an externsive study and analysis of over 1.5 million call records among 5500 corporations over a period of 13 months from around the world. Of these, the 3 top emotions are detailed here in a three part series and if you master these 3, you will have avoided damages from 80% or more such customers. Whats more? A well handled customer is likely to get an NPS of over 8 per another study.

First kind – The Angry Customer:

Description: This cusomer is very very very upset, would not be satisfied with anything you say and is at the anger index of 9 or 10 out of 10.

Here, clearly there has been a great mismatch of expectations. Now, no one knows who is to blame but your objective should be to calm this customer and not ‘aggravate’ this customer. Accept this reality, and do not make any of the below 5 Big mistakes that agents do:

  1. Do not hang up come what may until you have tried all the 4 steps detailed below
  2. Do not say “i can explain if you can allow me to speak’ – which is clearly like mocking at the customer for talking long explaining his side of the story. Customer has been given a mismatched expectation by someone or something. So lets give him the benefit of doubt and not judge as yet!
  3. Do not ignore the customer point of view , do not defend how this is your process. Customers do not have to know an internal process especially if this was not part of the sales contract.
  4. Do not say ” it is not something I would know – only technical team would know” and then when he asks to be connected, you say there is no way to connect to them directly “etc.
  5. Do not sound unaware of the process, or appear helpless and unaware of what is the solution. This will show that your organization has not empowered you at all. Its better to politely seek to place the call on hold, and take the advise of your supervisor
  6. Do not say that somone will call back without having put in enough effort from your end.

What is the way to handle such an Angry Customer?

Step 1: So, first thing first – if you know exactly what the problem is: readily acknowledge and accept the customer’s sense of unhappiness. There is nothing wrong in admitting that your customer is upset and that you recognise it and feel sorry for it. This will calm the customer by over 50%. Customers first want to be respected for their views. It is not without reason we say that Customer Is King.

Step 2: Next – go on to ask for details – this will give a lot of comfort to customer that you are taking interest. Ask a lot of questions to get clarity. This will calm the customer by another 25 to 30% that you are genuinely trying. Once you have the details, and if you understand the situation, and know a solution, do please suggest a solution that will work and if you do not, be truthful saying what the sitution is and add that you are sorry that this is not helping. You could also go on to offer to get your senior manager or supervisor to talk. Net net. – do everything to show you care even though you do not have a way to solve it.

Step 3: In the event there is no resolution, continue to show proactively that you are trying to understand the customer situaiton and help as much as is in your power to do so. You must realise that a customer so upset would do anything to damage your company’s reputation everywhere he goes and for years to come, in his circles, in social media, and everywhere he gets a chance to speak about you. So, its important to not hang up on such people or show them with your own hurt and inability to stand up to the situaiton. Instead rise above the situation and try to neutralise the situation.

Step 4: If you are putting him on hold, try coming back every other minute to assure that you are looking into it and apologise for keeping customer on hold.

Each of the above 4 steps will offset potential reputation damage from an extremely irate customer, by over 80%. You will find the customer appearing to accept your policies or procedures with which he had trouble.

Step 5: Hang up with an assurance you will take up his feedback with the Management and convey how sorry you are for not being able to help

In your feedback session with your manager explain the scenario so your organization has a chance to set the situation right.

Hope this Part 1 has been helpful. In the next blog we will look at the 2nd kind of customer. Meanwhile employ this technique and send your feedback to csattotal@gmail.com

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