This is an internal Comcast document entitled, “So you have an angry customer?” It’s a guide for technical support and customer service representatives for when unhappy customers call. It’s actually very good, full of plain talk and ways to think about the situation to help solve and defuse it. Apparently none of the Comcast customer service reps our readers complain about have ever read it.
So you have an angry customer?
Most customers are not thrilled to be calling any kind of technical support or customer service because generally they are having a problem with their service, and they want it taken care of as quick as possible.
As technical support/customer service representatives it is your job to respond appropriately to customers with many different demeanors.
Here are some things to think about when you get an angry or highly frustrated customer on the phone.
Understand the Source of the Anger
Realize that unhappy customers are not unhappy with you, just the situation. Most times you are not causing the customer’s frustration. Understand that they are not mad at you.
You can do a great deal to diffuse a caller’s anger before you even pick up the phone. When you answer the call, give a welcoming and professional greeting. It is more difficult to be rude to someone who’s warm and friendly.
Acknowledge the person’s feelings and apologize for the inconvenience the customer has encountered. Make an effort to be sincere. “I’m sorry that happened. Let me see what I can do to get this taken care of for you.” With an upset customer you will spend most of your time massaging their feelings and a small portion actually doing what you need to do to get the situation resolved.
Sympathize and empathize with the caller. “I can understand why you are upset” and other phrases of the sort can really help soothe the customer. Pretend it is you calling and then get busy solving the problem.
Accept 100 percent responsibility for the call. This is probably the toughest part. Chances are you had nothing to do with the problem. However, it is your job to accept responsibility and initiate work on a solution.
Prepare to help. Begin by reintroducing yourself – callers don’t usually remember your name. State that you will be able to help. Use the caller’s name, if possible, which helps diffuse the anger. A willing attitude is essential because if the caller senses insincerity or indifference, they will stay angry. It’s exasperating to file a complaint with someone who obviously doesn’t care.
Never make an excuse to a complaining customer. No one wants to hear, “The computer is down,” or “My system is not running properly.” When you give excuses, the caller hears, “I’m not going to help you now”
Escalating a Call
Sometimes you are unable to resolve a problem on the spot. Many times you need more information from another department or local system. Although these are legitimate courses of action, they usually upset your caller again.
If you need more information, explain that to your caller. Avoid untrue phrases like “Hold on a sec” or “We will be back to you shortly.” You want to set the customers’ expectations appropriately so they do not become even more frustrated when what you told them does not come true. Let them know what you are going to do and that you are going to alert the appropriate people that help deal with situations such as this.