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Navigating a Call From a Disgruntled Customer

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Upset customer

Calls to your shop from disgruntled customers can be difficult to know how to navigate. In an effort to resolve the customer’s issue and leave them feeling like they are willing to return, many factors come into play.  

Kimberly Pope, founder of The Pope Institute for Polish, Poise, and Etiquette, breaks down her tips on handling phone calls from disgruntled customers. Pope spans the gamut of business etiquette to dining etiquette and has worked with people and businesses of all types.  

Pope’s first—and biggest tip to navigating a phone call with an upset customer is to “exercise patience.” 

“Sometimes a disgruntled customer just wants to be heard,” says Pope. “They may already know that you can't really do anything to solve the situation at the time—whether it’s a part that needs to come in, or they can't get an appointment—the person just wants to be heard.”

She then suggests taking notes and repeating back to the customer what you think you heard them say. This shows the customers that you were listening. 

“Make sure that while being patient, you are still actively listening and offering ways you can try and help,” says Pope.

But Pope emphasizes the importance of not overpromising to customers.

“Customers can see through that (overpromising), or when you're trying to get them off the phone without really being helpful,” she explains.

Instead, try to find ways to help the disgruntled customer, even if it is a referral elsewhere. It’s all about finding creative ways to be helpful, says Pope, and it all starts with having patience.

More of Pope’s phone etiquette tips will be featured in the July issue of Ratchet+Wrench.

 

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