One of the most annoying parts of being a frontline staff member and also one of the most necessary parts is dealing with irate customers. Sometimes customers just aren’t easy to handle. There are requests that they make that are sometimes too crazy to believe and they can get pretty frustrated with services quickly. That’s why it’s crucial that each and every one of your frontline staff members is prepared to deal with every eventuality when it comes to the customer’s experience.
The good news is that we are here to help! There are plenty of things that you can teach your employees so that they are ready to work with each and every customer that comes their way. The last thing that you would want is for your customers and frontline staff members to get into fights with angry customers, that end up in the customer becoming a negative force against your company. Keep reading down below to learn more about how you can prepare your frontline staff to deal with customers.
Collect and act on NPS-powered customer feedback in real time to deliver amazing customer experiences at every brand touchpoint. By closing the customer feedback loop with NPS, you will grow revenue, retain more customers, and evolve your business in the process. Try it free.
1. Make Sure That They Know How to Respond in A Calm and Collected Manner
The absolute first rule of thumb when dealing with angry or frustrated customers is that your frontline staff members react in a calm and collected manner. No matter how taken aback they are by the customer’s actions, it’s crucial that calm is the name of the game. That’s because a customer is looking for a reaction from your frontline staff member when they start yelling or speaking angrily about your product or service. People generally just want to start yelling for the fact that they could get the same response from the other person.
For example, when a customer is yelling angrily in the store because the product he bought a couple of days ago is not working well, the frontline staff should remain calm and should not get carried away. But, rather get his team to check the product in front of the customer and discuss the concerns with him. Confrontation might lead to a much more violent situation, which can easily be avoided by a practical solution for the problem.
When training your frontline staff members, try to do some practice interactions so that they can see what it means to respond in a calm manner to someone who is not so calm. This is going to improve everyone’s experience.
2. Empathy and Positive Body Language Are Key Points
One of the next lessons that your frontline members should understand is, to empathize with customers. Empathy is the way that your employees can put themselves in the shoes of the customers to understand where they are coming from. Untrained front-line staffers might think that the customer has no reason to be angry and they are just making a scene. However, there is always a way to see things from their perspective and try to come up with a common solution together. This is super important because this is often the only way to get a customer to calm down and understand that things will be fixed soon.
Another important part of this is the body language that your front liners use when speaking with irate customers.
For example, sometimes the employees might be tempted to cross their arms and give customers a not-so-happy face when they start getting stressed. However, this negative body language is just going to make customers angrier and think that they are not taking them seriously. Therefore, the staff members should take short breaks, splash face with cold water or even power naps so that they can attentively listen to what the customer is trying to say. A simple smile can do wonders for the most of the people.
Make sure that you train your employees on the proper positive body language to use with angry customers to make them happier and satisfied.
3. Being Careful with Words and Phrases That Are Used
An angry customer is going to define everything they hear by what they are feeling inside. That’s why that something that your frontline staff member says that might be meant in a nice manner can be taken wrong by the angry customer. Make sure that your employees know how to properly speak with customers so that their words cannot be construed as not caring for the customer.
For example, instead of saying “Why do you think that?”, your employee can say “I’m so sorry that you feel this way. What might make you think that?”. The second question is much more caring to the customer and sounds more positive, even though both questions are asking the same thing. Try to do some practice rounds with your employees during training. One person can be the angry customer and another one can be the employee who is trying to calm them down. By doing this, your employees are going to be ready in the future when they will be dealing with irate customers.
4. They Need to Be Honest and Take Proper Action
One of the worst things that your employees can do when they are dealing with customers on the front-line is to make excuses and not provide immediate action. No matter what, your front-line employees have got to be honest with the customer, not make excuses, and to never make promises that they can’t keep.
For example, if a customer wants your frontline tax attorney team to go through his accounting books and your frontline team finds out that the books your customer is keeping are not in order and do not comply with the government standards, your team should, right away, inform the customer that it can lead to a penalty and imprisonment or both. Your frontline team should not only make them aware of the severity of the situation (i.e. being honest) but also help them rectify the errors (i.e. taking action).
5. Finding an Agreeable Solution and Following Up Later
Lastly, going along with that last point, it’s important that your front-line employees understand how basic human psychology works. No matter what, they should understand that customers just want some kind of solution right away. No matter if that’s actually the solution they are looking for or not, something is way better than nothing in these cases. Customers often just feel very frustrated and helpless whenever they react angrily to front-line staff members. Giving them, some kind of assurance will help assuage them for the moment until a full solution can be found.
For example, if a customer in your store is inquiring about a discount for bulk purchase; he is looking for a positive response and better prices ASAP. Instead of telling the customer that it is not in your hands, you can ask them to wait while we get your query forwarded to the manager. This will keep the customer optimistic as he knows store’s backend team is working on his query. Though the customer may or may not get the expected discount, being heard will definitely make him happy.
And there you have it! When it comes to your front-line staff members, these are some of the most important members of your company team. No matter what, make sure that these people are properly trained on how to deal with angry and frustrated customers and handle criticism sportingly. This will ensure that solutions can be found and your customers don’t find themselves being frustrated for too long.