How to handle 10 most common tough situations with your customers

Learn how to adapt your responses and bring in personality when handling customer problems.

How to handle 10 most common tough situations with your customers

When it comes to dealing with customers, unfortunately, there is no some kind of a manual, one can teach you how to follow. It is important to consider it as a conversation you’re having with another person in the first place so that you wouldn’t be perceived as cold, distant, or robotic from the other end. It never hurts to be prepared, however, and take lessons from previous hard cases some support craft pros have already encountered in the past.

It is particularly useful when training your team or if you’re just doing it for a personal gain. Nonetheless, it’ll improve you in all the challenging aspects and increase your proficiency immensely. Here are 10 most frequent cases you’re guaranteed to encounter!

1. You have no idea how to respond

First of all, there is nothing wrong with not knowing something. You are the person who’s responsible for making things right, it implies that something went wrong from the starting point and in no way things would end up being perfect. Just make sure not to show your frustration to the customer.

You may consider going with “Thank you for bringing it up, I’ll escalate it to our team and come back as soon as I have more information!” instead.

The key here is to assure them of your competence and willingness to make things right for them no matter what.

2. The item is out of stock

This particular topic is most sensitive for the e-commerce owners. As we’ve already established earlier, in order to not trigger some unpredictable reactions, it is highly important to use words with positive connotations.

What you need to keep in mind is that they’ve come for your guidance. So instead of advising customers of something not being available as a matter-of-fact, you might consider propositioning of placing the order for them instead, that is as soon as you’ve obtained more items of course.

The key here is to substitute for a more positive language and shift focus from the problem to a solution instead.

3. Reassigning the customer

It’s not a secret that no client ever wants to be asked to wait while they’re being transferred. Such responses usually go off as rather harsh and might start a chain of unpleasant thoughts on their part, so your job here is to help them understand why they’re being transferred.

Tell them that they’re being taken care of and will be transferred to someone who’s also competent and is a better suit to work on such problems.

As you can see, the key here is to reassure them that by doing so you aim to solve their problem and that it is solely in their favor.

4. How to refuse

Sometimes you’ll also encounter customers who execute very strong opinions and have shaped a particular image on what your product should look like or how it’s supposed to work.

The interest they take in your product may be quite beneficial to some extent. However, when it is obvious that you won’t be able to fulfill their requests you shouldn’t be afraid to inform them about it.

So instead of giving them false hope, apologize sincerely and note that their opinion is, without a doubt, very valuable, however at the moment you have other things as the top priority but you’ll make sure to get back to their recommendations when the time is right.

5. The customer seeks for a preferential treatment

It is worth noting that such requests are mostly justifiable. If they’re asking for a small favor it often leads to an overall good impression of the company.

However, some cases may occur when the customer wants you to completely readjust the rules in their favor. In this case you need to keep your head straight on the higher goal. Will your refusal affect the company’s image and attract bigger problems? Or will the benefits outweigh the cost?

If it’s the former then try going with: “As much as I’d love to make things right for you, I’m afraid that our policy on the issue is too important to be overlooked as it is aimed on keeping the privacy of our customers as well as yours secured. Please, allow me to help you find some place you’d be able to receive the requested service.”

The key here is to lessen up the situation a bit by showcasing your empathy.

6. Overriding security policy

The solution we offer here is completely opposite from what you’re used to hearing. If you’re naturally inclined to help, you may find yourself being taken advantage of.

It is important to keep a clear head and not jump to conclusions; such things will most definitely require approval beforehand. The easiest way to resolve this issue is to send two identical codes separately, then ask for the customer to confirm the code.

As a rule, it helps to have a policy pointed out on your website. This way, they know that you’re not making any exceptions; you’re serious about security and you’re not easy on such requests.

7. Dealing with defective products

We all internally recognize that no matter how much hard work you put into things it’s not necessarily going to pay off.

At the same time, imagine how frustrating it is on their end, empathize on their frustration, explain what the problem is and come up with a solution. Depending on what your business is offering you might also consider creating an immediate replacement or giving them a full refund.

All in all, it’s the ability to put oneself in their shoes that counts.

8. Experiencing an angry customer

More often than not, their behavior will be caused by something or even in the case when it is completely unjustified, you will find yourself in a position where your job is to win their trust back.

Consider following these steps: apologizing is always a good start, sympathize with their problem, take responsibility for handling it for them. In many cases you’ll notice that showing support is already half the deal. Spend an additional minute to calm them down and you’ll notice that sometimes it’s all that takes.

There is no perfect solution when it comes to handling upset customers, unfortunately. Where one is okay with how you’ve resolved their issue, the other may consider your abilities lacking. In any case, you should always do your best to help each and every one of them.

9. What to do if you messed up

It is a terrible feeling, but don’t expect that nobody will notice. Instead of sticking your head into the sand, you should reach out to the customer in a follow-up letter and also bring it to your team lead’s attention, in case if they’re not aware of the issue yet.

In your letter you should: apologize outright, explain what had happened, assure them that you’ll keep them updated on the issue and then let them know when it’s fixed.

You might be surprised by how forgiving people are. When you own up to your mistakes, make sure to resolve everything promptly and accurately, and then take steps to prevent such bugs from happening in the future, they’ll understand.

10. “I’d like to speak to your manager!”

If you’re in the wrong, don’t hesitate to forward their message to the team lead, anyone can make a mistake.

What you might consider to do, in order to handle the situation yourself, is to reassure them once again that you’re competent enough to work this situation out and that they’ll get the very same response from the manager. If it’s still isn’t enough for them, then that’s exactly what team leads are for, right?

Quite often, you’ll notice that an outside opinion is what will convince them to listen.

How to close conversation with a demanding customer

One of the important keys on how to close the conversation with a demanding customer is to make sure that you’ve completed the conversation. This involves making sure that no questions were left unresolved from both ends.

Show them that you’re willing to make things right for them, will do everything in your competence to make sure their issue is taken care of, have a full understanding of what they consider to be “taking care of”.

End your conversation by mentioning how glad you are that you’ve been able to sort things out for them. Offer additional help. Make sure that you’re not leaving them in the state of feeling like a burden, encourage them to share their thoughts. In most cases, it’ll prompt them to leave a positive feedback.