The following is a guest post from Renee Evenson, who has worked in the customer service management field for over 30 years and is the author of Customer Service Management Training 101: Quick and Easy Techniques That Get Great Results.
Providing exceptional customer service should be every business person’s goal throughout the year because displaying good customer service skills keeps customers happy. But then comes the holiday season and along with the feelings of peace and good will to all come the overwhelming feelings of stress to make sure everything is taken care of—decorating, cards to write, holiday dinners to prepare for, parties to plan, and all that gift buying. And when customers feel stressed, they often display bad behaviors. They may snap at you, make unreasonable demands, and become angry or upset quickly.
And it isn’t only your customers who may exhibit bad behaviors. If you manage customer service employees, then you know how frazzled they can become during the holiday season. So how do you help your stressed-out employees provide exceptional customer service to customers that are nearly running on empty?
Regular customer service training will provide your employees with the tools they need to handle any customer in any situation. But during the holidays, when everyone is likely to feel overwhelmed, you can give your employees the gift of some quick customer service training tips to help them provide a consistently high level of service throughout the holiday season and beyond.
- Don’t take a customer’s bad behavior personally. Try to see the situation from the other person’s perspective. Rather than judging, assume the customer has a reason for his or her actions. Showing compassion and displaying empathy will help you respond to the customer objectively.
- Never respond to rudeness with rudeness. Rather, keep your cool, stay calm, and speak respectfully. Staying calm keeps you in control of the situation and you’ll feel better when you do.
- Getting the customer on your side will make it easier for you to interact with him or her. Try to establish a rapport and find common ground. Say something like: “This time of the year is so busy isn’t it? I sense that you’re in a hurry and I’m going to take care of this right away for you.”
- If a customer is upset or angry, respond with a phrase of empathy, then assure the customer you’re going to take care of the request. Say something like: “I understand that you’re upset and I’m going to help you. Can you explain to me what you need me to do?” By using a calming voice and steady tone, you’ll help calm your customer.
- Listen carefully and pay attention to the customer’s facial
expressions and body language. Try to match your facial expressions to the customer’s mood. In other words, don’t ignore a customer’s emotions, but rather show that you understand.
- Do what you say you will when you say you will. Rather than make a promise you’re not sure you can keep, make an honest commitment you know you can meet.
- Always take a moment to show that you empathize with your customers by showing compassion and concern. Doing so will not only make you feel good, you are likely to make your customer’s day go a little better.
Renee Evenson has worked in the customer service management field for over 30 years, including 15 as a customer service manager and trainer at BellSouth Telecommunications. She has a degree in organizational psychology and is the author of Customer Service Training 101, Customer Service Management Training 101, and Award-Winning Customer Service.
Coming tomorrow… Jim Joseph on Whether Temporary Holiday Rush Employees Hurt the Brand.