Rude customers are a breed of their own. Today I’m answering a question from Vanessa about how to handle rude customers while backing your team members up.
I just recently had a situation with one of my customers and a representative that was assisting the customer. The rep took the call and felt the customer was being rude and was upset and possibly yelling at the rep. As soon as I heard that, I told the rep to place the customer on hold and I would handle the call. The rep was able to transfer her to me and when I spoke with the customer she was okay – nothing I couldn’t handle and I was able to assist the customer. The rep expressed his frustration that he had never been talked to like that from a customer before. I told him that I needed to fix the issue in which I did. He felt as if I wasn’t backing him up because the customer was out of line.
Did I handle the situation correctly? What limits should I have on customers yelling at our representatives? I want them to know I get the frustration of the customer yelling at them but also our goal is to fix the issue. Any feedback would help.
Thanks for the question Vanessa. Obviously I don’t know what the customer said to your representative or if and why they were yelling but your first step should always be to get that information.
Here’s what you’ve got to understand about your team – they must know that you are there to protect them. I don’t mean to protect them in stupidity or being a bad representative or an entitled employee. If a customer is treating your representative rudely, you need to show them that you’re willing to stand in the gap and battle against bad junk to protect them. Show your team that you care more about them.
That being said, I want you to solve every customer problem you possibly can unless the customer is being a jerk. Yes, maybe they’re frustrated and understandably so if the company messed up but there’s a line. That line starts when they’re literally yelling. What happens when they cross that line? You give them a warning, “Here’s my extension, when you decide not to yell at me, call me back.” If they keep yelling, hang up.
My team will always know that they have that right. Even more, when a customer is using profanity they have full power to fire them. Yes. Fire the customer. It doesn’t matter how much money they’ve spent with the company. If a customer is cussing out one of my team members, they’re gone.
Now, if there wasn’t yelling or profanity, I’m going to have a discussion with the representative. It’s possible they need to have tougher skin in a customer service role or maybe they’re on the wrong seat on the bus. If they’re acting with entitlement, they’re probably in the wrong seat. If they’re not ready to have tough skin and handle customers in a customer service role, they probably don’t need to be there.
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