Negative people are like the pimple that grows smack dab in the middle of your face for before a public appearance; they show up unexpectedly and completely uninvited. The sad truth is that no matter how professional you are, how perfect your presentation is, or how many people come to you with positive feedback, there will be one client who notices the minor blemish and can’t express the problem kindly. Although seen more so in face to face interactions, such situations can happen via the phone system as well. How? Well let’s say a less than pleased customer is calling due to an issue, or they’re confused about an aspect of your business and need clarity, but they’re put on hold for quite some time or your menu options are too vague. Well, this just frustrates the customer more. It’s too easy for a less than positive spark to ignite a full-blown negative situation, especially since the already upset caller will target you for everything that has frustrated them in the process of reaching you. Are they complaining your on-hold message is too short or the music is tacky? When selecting a voice prompt, was there not enough information in the menu they selected? They will literally throw everything they can at you, even if it initially has nothing to do with why they called. But if you reveal the darker side of yourself, you can say goodbye to a good business reputation. It’s important your customer service skills shine even for the most negative of people. So how can you graciously assist an angry customer while keeping your best self in check?
1.) Think before you retaliate: We all have been in a situation where you have to fight the urge to snap at someone behaving rudely. Remember, any negativity they dish out is on them, not you. Your reaction is on you. People will be watching and these people will define you by your actions, so make them positive.
2.) Understand it’s a free world: Angry customers usually spit out hurtful words. Even if you cannot see any good reason behind their opinion, they’re entitled to it. The key word here is opinion, an idea or statement which is neither right nor wrong therefore it shouldn’t affect you so deeply. Sure, their words came out like a personal attack, but you don’t have to buy into them, and neither does anyone else.
3.) Acknowledge the core of their negativity: Just because they had a less than satisfactory experience with your company doesn’t mean you’re the sole cause of their words or actions. Don’t think for a second you would’ve prevented them from acting how they did or saying what they said because if you weren’t there to target, that wouldn’t stop them from targeting someone else. Why? Because the core reason people are so negative is they are unhappy with something about themselves. All you can do is prevent the business issue from happening again.
4.) Don’t take it to heart: Negative customers usually threaten to never do business with you again. As hard as that reality is, you need to accept you can’t please everyone. You’ll have people who love your services and unfortunately people who don’t. It’s inevitable. Don’t make yourself miserable trying to impress those who fail to see how easily matters could be resolved and the true value of your product. Be yourself and live to do things because you feel they’re right.
Reminding yourself of these points will make it easier to maintain your best customer service skills in every aspect of your business, including your on hold messages and voice prompts. Be your most cheerful self, provide adequate information, express how you stand out, and choose soul-lifting music as these traits will not only allow you to shine, but they might just change negativity into a smile.