Working with Guests and Customers- An Introduction
How to Deal with an extremely Irate Guest
If your work consists mostly of dealing and talking with guests and customers, then you have for sure at some point come across someone very upset, rude, or both. Most of the time it is because they are not happy with a service or product. After years of this experience, I will tell you now, that 98% of the time they are right to be upset and angry. But not directly at you (unless you really have done someting personal to the guests that affects them personally). And most of the time, they are genuine. It took me a few years to really have this embeded in me, until I had figured it out, mainly because of experience and different training sessions. And during that time, I would say, I pissed off a few guests with becoming angry because they were angry, didn’t beleive them, or made the situation worse. It didn’t happen a lot, but I am not afraid to say it happened a few times in those few years. For me, now, that is unacceptable.
Today we will look at some of the many steps that the manager and the employee need to have run through theit thoughts whenever they are faced with a really upset guest or customer. We will go much more in depth in the blog sessions to come, but I wanted to briefly highlight a few of them today. Remember, how you respond can make the difference between a customer or guest that feels satisfied with the resolution and one who vows to never patronize your business again.
The 1st step you need to take is to remain calm and poised. If this doesn’t happen or you loose it very fast, what follows is in vain. Believe me when I say this. It happened to me. As soon as you loose your cool, you are done. The next steps are very hard to achieve. If a guest is yelling, being loud, or otherwiese rude, nothing can be gained by responding in a similar manner. The customer’s tirade might make you ffel like yelling yourself, but don’t. Control yourself. Remember, it is not personal. They just need to let someone know and that someone is you, in your position.
The 2nd step is to use your best lisening skills and let them know you are truly listening. The first thign an angry customer or guest wants to do is vent, and to do so, you are there to listen. Listening patiently can diffuse a situation as long as they feel acknowledged. Body language is also very important. Miantain eye contact and a strong straight posture. This shows how closely you are paying attention to their problem. Take notes and don’t talk, let them talk. After they finish, repeat and summarize what they have said and ask if the information you gathered is correct. Be patient and aknowledge the guest’s right to be angry.
The next big step, even though I have already mentioned it, is to NOT TAKE IT PERSONALLY. Listen to their emotions without any of your emotions. It’s a very fine line and this is sometimes quite hard for many customer service agents to do and to realize, but if you work on it continuously, by time this becomes very easy for you. It’s a very fine line and this is sometimes quite hard for many customer service agents to do and to realize, but if you work on it continuously, by time this becomes very easy for you.
After these 4 steps, it is time for you to action. There are a few more steps you need to take. Now that they have vented, you listened, you need to assist them, apologize and mean what you say and what you do.
Next Monday we will cover the next few steps, like sympathizing, empathizing, apologizing, speaking softly, voicing your solution to the customer, owning it and taking responsibility. Stat tunes for thr continuation next week! Have a great and productive week.