Tough conversations - part of customer service

Regardless of how much your customers love your organization and products, there will always be a set of customers who are unhappy with you. Though they might be small in number, they are an important component of your customer community. So, your customer service team needs to deal with difficult customers as part of their job. One of the basic factors to remember is that you might or might not be able to resolve the issue for your customer, but do not dodge them. Your customer service representatives need to read the situations, and manage difficult customers effectively to prevent your customers from churning.

handling difficult customer conversations

Tips to handle difficult customer conversations


Do your homework on the customer in advance

While you need to know your product like the back of your hand to be able to help your customers, you also need to invest time in knowing your customers. It means that you need to invest time on the customer’s profile before you begin the conversation with them. Check if there are any open tickets, their responses to CSAT and NPS surveys, and even the previous notes about the customer, left by other agents. These will help you get some context about the customer.

Opportunity to build customer loyalty

While dealing with a difficult customer isn’t easy, it presents a huge opportunity. It’s all about a mental shift. If your customer support representative can do a great job in handling a tough customer, there is a good chance that they will end up becoming long term loyal customers. These happy customers can be the biggest advocates of your product.

Take a multichannel approach

Give your customer the confidence that their issue is being taken seriously. Multichannel reach out is a great way to do that. Increasing the interaction channels instills confidence in the customer. For example, if the conversation is just being discussed over a ticket and email, your customer service agent can pick up the phone and call the customer, or they can use a live chat tool to interact with the customer.

Balance between empathy and boundaries

Different customers should be handled differently. While it is important for the support agent to be calm and diplomatic, it is not easy for them to take abuse and abrasive language from the customers. Support agents need to find the right balance between empathy and boundaries, and hold ground whenever needed.

Refrain from lying to your customers

 When the customer has a problem, it is better to apologize and get to the crux of their issue. And let’s say you know that issue doesn’t have an immediate resolution, it is still better to be the torchbearer of the bad news than setting the wrong expectations. The focus should be on the ultimate goal of building customer loyalty. Sometimes, when you know there is a goof up, you can go out of the way to offer discount coupons or extend the trial period or something that would be really valuable to customer.


What next?

Motivating your customer support team

The motivation level of your customer support team has a direct impact on how your customer perceives your organization’s brand. Companies whose support team members go the extra mile, are the ones that retain customers for longer periods.

segmenting customers