I don’t know about you but when I make a promise, I like to try and keep it. I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I work in customer services and I deal with requests, complaints and aggressive customers to name a few. And last night was no exception!
I love that most customers explain at the beginning of the call that ..’when I say ‘you’, I mean your company that you represent, not you personally’. I actually find these calls much easier to handle as they are not attacking me personally or so they say…
I think most people can tolerate abuse to a certain point but I’m sure most of us would struggle to deal with a stressful call for an hour or two. Don’t get me wrong, I can hold my own and stay pretty calm but we all have that point, when we want to explode. It’s not like I have the opportunity to disconnect the call at any time or retaliate by shouting or swearing back at them, I just have to take it and keep calm. I still need to remain professional at all times and I’ll tell you what sometimes it’s bloody difficult!
Sadly, when I am confronted with an aggressive customer, my normal reaction is to prepare for fight or flight. My body produces adrenalin and my face turns red and I become anxious and tense. On the plus side my colleagues are all very supportive which I think makes all the difference. Someone also said that its best to try and not allow the customer’s anger to provoke me but that’s easier said than done.
The reason I started this post is because I was shocked at the advice from one of my colleagues, about handling an irate customer. He said that I should just put them on hold and hang up! But in all honesty, what would that achieve? Bad customer service? Another call back in to the company? And quite possibly an even more irate and frustrated customer – no thanks!!
A customer said to me today ‘please treat me like I’m part of your family and not just another account, you have to deal with!’ I was disappointed that he even felt the need to make this request. He mentioned that he had just spoken to someone and he found them to be quite pushy, unwilling to listen and therefore he felt the need to call back and hopefully speak to someone who was willing to actually help. I was able to help said customer and he sounded so happy when he left the call, in comparison to when it started.
Last night my shift ended at 7pm and my bus is at 7.15pm. I find that if my call runs over, I’m at a disadvantage due to being on a crutch, as this makes it harder to get to the bus stop on time. It’s not like I can run down the stairs if need be.
I was dealing with an irate customer and this call lasted 1 hour and 30 minutes and ended at 7.15pm. At this point I was now running 45 minutes behind as I had arranged to call, one of my customers back at 6.30pm. I didn’t want the customer to think that I had forgot and therefore I made the decision to work on after my shift and try and call customer back, as promised. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get through to him so I left a voicemail, arranging to call back tomorrow.
Making the decision to stay on, resulted in me missing my bus. I spoke to a manager who approved extending my shift til 8pm, when we close. My end time of 8pm clearly wasn’t meant to be either; as on my very last call, I was dealing with someone who was very upset and I made the decision to stay on the phone with him until I found a resolution. Customer left the call very happy and stress free. My shift didn’t go as planned but it’s a good feeling when you know you’ve done everything you can to help. I finally finished 1 hour and 30 minutes later than planned.
So today is another day and I look forward to speaking to new customers, where I can hopefully make their day :)
Until next time.