At some moments customer service job can be a challenge. Dealing with different people and trying to meet their expectations is not an easy task. It takes patience, sharp intellect and I would even say wisdom to navigate through the various customer moods and still provide a professional service.
In this article I would like to review the biggest customer service challenges based on my own experience on live chat. I would like to share with you what I found worked best for me to overcome them and I hope my experience will be of use to you as well.
So let’s begin.
1. Having to serve multiple customers at the same time
If you are working in customer service, you need to be prepared to deal with several customers at a time on daily basis.
My best tip for overcoming this challenge is learning to take a pause correctly.
If you clearly specify to the customer there is going to be a break, that you need time to find a response to his question or find a solution to his problem, it is no big deal. Customers are ok being put on hold if you tell them you need a few moments to research their issue. This is the time that you can use to respond to another customer. However, avoid telling the first customer you are communicating with someone else and need time for this. It would be a bad idea! And don’t just leave the first customer on hold without explaining – that’s another bad idea!
2. Being time-pressed to give a response when you don’t have one
There are situations when a customer is rushing you to give them a response, but you don’t actually know what to say, because either you don’t understand how to solve their problem or you don’t have enough information.
In such situations, I recommend to hold your ground and insist on taking your time to investigate the issue. Not buying into the rush will help you to give a better quality customer service. You can say, for example, “I will need some time to research the issue and do some testing. Would it be ok if I emailed you with the results later today?” Or you could say, “I will need to check this up with our administrator/manager. Could you please leave me your email and I will get back to you shortly.”
3. Facing an irate customer
Dealing with angry customers is part of the deal you are entering a customer service job. There is no escaping it.
There is a long list of advice spoken on this subject. And the reason is that it’s really not easy. If I am to take a single line to give my own advice, it is “Remain calm yourself”. What helps me personally when I see someone who is just venting out their emotions, I try to think of that person as a teenager and treat him accordingly. We’ve all been there and we know, there is no arguing or reasoning with a teenager. It’s just how they feel and you can’t help it. You can only save it from going worse if you
4. Having no solution to the customer’s problem
If you are at a loss and have no idea how to solve a certain issue, it’s better to take the time and research it a little bit or maybe consult with your team-mates or senior staff. It’s kind of a shameful situation, but hey, let’s face it, it happens. You are not omnipotent.
However, don’t be so bold about it with your customer and don’t admit it in these exact words, “I don’t know how to solve this problem, sorry”, because you will label yourself incompetent. Instead, you can say, “Sorry, it will take me some time to investigate the issue and check a few details with our admin/manager. Can I get back to you by email?”
5. Not being able to give a bigger discount
It’s a tough one to say “No” to a request of a discount. Especially, if it is a loyal and trusted customer who’s been with the company for many years. But what can you do about it. If you can’t, you can’t. Sometimes life says “No” to you too in other situations.
What I think works in such situations is admitting the situation honestly as it is, “I’m very sorry, but the company can’t go lower than this price.” And you can also add some explanations of they are true, for example, “Our service/product cost is quite low as it is and lowering it further would just make it not worth for us running the business. I hope you understand.” This is quite honest and most people with reason will understand it right.
6. Admitting the lack of a feature or a product
This is similar to saying “No” to a discount request. No one likes to hear a “No”. Still, you got to say it bold as it is, otherwise you may mislead the customer and he will feel cheated if you promise him something you can’t deliver. “Sorry, we don’t have this feature at this time. We didn’t receive enough requests from customers, so we don’t plan to add it in the nearest future. This may change later on, however.” Or, if the feature is in the works, you can say, “My apologies, we don’t have this feature yet. However, it is under development and we hope to see a new release soon. Would you like to be notified by email when it is ready?”
7. Dealing with a service outage or a crisis situation
Having a big volume of inquiries with many customers frustrated that something is not working can be tough.
The approach that I have developed over the years and which I found works best is to be dead honest about what’s going on, admit the problem even if you don’t know how and when it is going to be resolved. But the truth is, you are working on it and that’s exactly what matters.
“Please accept our apologies. We are having a problem at our end. Our technicians are working now to fix it as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience and understanding.”
There you go! You are prepared for the toughest customer service situations now.
Have your take and share your tips in the comments if you already had experience dealing with difficult customer service situations.