Throughout the call center year, we handle inbound customer service calls from people who have ordered last-minute gifts for friends and family. The “big day” is approaching but the last-minute gift has not yet landed at the recipient’s doorstep – or it arrived too late.
For call center services providers like us, this is when our customer service skills and value are put to the test.
Angry or panicked customers come in many flavors: Some are gracious and understanding. But more often they are frustrated or outright furious. As the front-line representative of our order processing and order taking clients, it is our paramount duty to handle these calls in the most professional, caring and effective way so that the customer remains loyal to our client.
Here’s the procedure we’ve put in place at OnBrand24:
Job One: Listen closely to the customer complaint. Then apologize for disruption to their gift-giving occasion and disappointment to the friend or loved one. Reference the details of their complaint in your apology. This lets people know you have heard them.
Further, it is very important to use the right language when dealing with an angry or panicked caller. Here is phrasing that we have found to be most effective:
• “I’m sending this to a manager for follow-up….” Never say “somebody will get back to you” – it’s too impersonal and vague, and likely to cause even more frustration.
• “I’m sorry, but I can’t see all the details of your order from this office, I need one of my customer service colleagues to research this so we can get back to you with all the details of your shipment.” This is better than the less personable and detailed: “I’ll send out an inquiry for you…”
• “I will have our team to get back to you in writing. What is your email address…?”
• “Thank you for giving me the details of what happened. Let me read this report back to you and make sure I’ve got everything right….” Then recap the details of the complaint and the person’s contact information.
• When an incorrect item was shipped, apologize for the mistake, then say: “I am escalating the problem to the warehouse manager and the customer service manager. I will get back to you in writing as soon as possible.”
Granted, shipping problems never make customers happy. But companies that hold themselves accountable for for shipping mistakes are much more likely to retain a customer’s loyalty. And the language that call center services specialists use in handling those calls is critical to minimizing damage to the customer relationship.
Mark Fichera, CEO