When you receive a call from an unhappy customer, it seems that you already lost the CSAT-Battle.

Unhappy Client = Negative CSAT?

NOPE!

You are wrong because you can turn most unhappy clients into happy ones when you follow some easy guidelines how to handle an “unhappy” or “aggressive” client.

Stay calm and friendly

Always stay calm, friendly and professional. I don’t say that you are not a professional in all the other cases, but in cases of unhappy customers, you need to be more than 100% professional.

Let the client vent!

Let the client blow off his steam, wait until he calms down a bit by himself and then show empathy and understanding, but don’t apologise.

Don’t apologise! Show understanding and empathy.

By apologizing “too soon” you unnecessarily weaken your position and maybe even fuel the anger you need to deal with because the client will feel  “weakness” as confirmation that he is right and state his issue even more demanding.

“Don’t see an angry or unsatisfied client as from hell,
see the client as someone who has been through hell.”

Apologise only if you found the real cause of the issue and it’s clearly your company’s fault, but in any case, you show that you understand the client’s frustration, anger and the issue itself.

If the client doesn’t calm down

Normally the client will try to tell you his whole story in one go and then calm a bit down, BUT there is the client who won’t calm down and stay angry.

Now it’s time for you to play your magic and turn the customer.

  • If the client gets abusive or uses foul language. State clear that the call is recorded and that there is a basic rule of politeness everyone should obey, then summarise the situation and continue to work the case.
  • If the client continues to be unreasonable or abusive, raise your voice and say: “NO!” and pause two seconds. Then continue to talk in your normal voice and tell the client that you will end the conversation if he doesn’t calm down.
  • Take the call over and lead the call. State clearly that you are THE ONE who can help the client RIGHT NOW and that you will do your best to solve the issue. Ask the client if he agrees on that and let him say “YES!”.
  • Again, don’t apologize, SHOW EMPATHY!
  • If the client doesn’t calm down and continues to be aggressive or abusive give him the “final warning”, state that you will end the call without any further notice, that you will document the call in the CMS and that you will ask your manager to save the record of the call.
  • Hopefully, you manage it to calm the client down and save your CSAT, but sometimes it’s time to “say goodbye” and send him friendly back into the queue hang up without any further comment.
  • Document the case and apologize to your poor colleague who will take over.

Pro Tip: “Never ever call an abusive customer back and continue the discussion!”

Serious threats

If there is any concern that the call might need to be escalated, because the client stated a serious threat, go immediately to your manager or senior and ask for advice.

Analyse the situation.

Let the customer talk, make notes and document everything within the CMS. Ask questions, assume nothing, let the customer confirm everything you note.

Here’s another tip!

Try to ask the questions in a way that the client will most likely answer with “YES!”, this will put the client in a more positive mood without him recognising it. Recommended read ->  Let the client say “YES!”.

Find the cause of the issue.

Try to find the reason for the client’s disappointment. Write a summary in the CMS and if you don’t have enough information follow up and hear all involved parties. Write a summary in the CMS.

Determine possible solutions.

When you gathered all information you are ready for the most crucial part of the conversation. You need to tell the client the outcome of your investigations and offer solutions.

Can you solve the issue?

There are three possible outcomes for a “complaint situation”. One might lead to a complaint, one lead to a for sure to a complaint and one which shouldn’t be the case.

You solved the issue. Hope for a positive CSAT.

Lucky you, explain to the client how you solved the issue and how you did your best to help the client.

“Brag and Shine!” and close the case. Ask the customer if he is satisfied with your actions, inform him that there might be a survey asking for a feedback on your work let him say “YES!” the last time and close the case.

Now you need to wait for “Judgement Call!”.

You couldn’t solve the issue. Most likely a negative CSAT.

Angry customer stays angry or is not satisfied with the outcome of his complaint. Tough luck. Sometimes you can’t solve an issue and the client won’t be happy about this.

Most likely an unsuccessful complaint is based on unrealistic customer expectations or plain errors made by the client. Explain why you need to bring bad news, explain the situation and don’t hesitate to confront the client with facts he might not like.

Try to let him say “YES!” the last time and close the case.

You need to forward the issue. No CSAT!

Sometimes you are stuck and you can’t follow up and a colleague needs to take over. “Luck” for you and “bad luck” for your colleague. You’ve done your best and documented everything well, then there is nothing you can do anymore.

Here it’s recommended that you apologize you couldn’t solve the issue.

TIP: You can offer a compensation?

If you can approve some kind of payout appreciation / compensation to the client and you think that the client deserves a “Real Sorry”, don’t tell the client straight away that you will pay him XYZ Euro as a “Good Will Gesture”.

Use the client’s imagination and tell him ” …. that your company invites him for food with the wife or two bottles of wine, …. pause.” and then ask the client if he likes the idea and smile.

Sounds way better than 22,75 Euro. 🙂

CSAT Cheating? Never delay closing a case!

You should never ever delay closing a case to avoid a bad CSAT, this is cheating, a very bad practice and not fair to your colleagues. Accept the fact that you will receive a bad CSAT from time to time and close the case.

Feedback, please!

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