The longer COVID-19 is an issue across the country and worldwide, the more stress and pressure exist on everyone in every community. This means retail businesses, restaurants, service industries, professionals, and any other type of customer-facing enterprise encounters people who are increasingly angry, stressed, and frustrated.
Unfortunately, the staff is also frustrated. They too are experiencing challenges in their personal and professionals life. At work, they are experiencing higher levels of customer frustration, anger, and lack of patience. While it is natural for employees to feel stress, stepping up and providing exceptional customer service at this time is more important than ever.
There are some simple steps that any employees working with the customers can use to help to provide customer service that helps to reduce frustration and stress. Changing a few basic approaches to dealing with customer complaints, even with B2B customers, can help to set your business apart from the competition. It can also solidify your brand as a customer-friendly company even in the most difficult of times.
Allowing the customer to share their story and just listening to their concerns, issues, and frustration is an important part of making the customer feel heard and valued.
Before responding or asking a specific question, or attempting to jump in and solve the issue, take a minute and paraphrase the key points the customer indicated as the issue. Let them know what you are doing by starting with, “I want to make sure I understand your concerns. What I heard you say was ….. Did I miss anything?”
This gives the customer time to understand you were listening and to add any more details that may be relevant.
Acknowledge the Issue
Making a statement that you empathize with or understand the frustration is also a way to demonstrate understanding. If appropriate, an apology and asking the customer how she or he would like to see the problem solved is a great way to build rapport and to connect with the customer on a deeper level.
You may also want to suggest a solution if it addresses the needs of the customer. Giving staff the ability to negotiate and resolve issues creatively, within a reasonable range of options always makes the customer feel valued and supported, even if they are initially frustrated and angry.
Training staff and managers in working with angry customers is a great option at this time. Going the extra mile for a customer is an impactful way to build a lasting relationship and a loyal customer for life.