Working in customer service is a test of your people, management, and communication skills. A wrong word or answer can escalate a simple issue beyond your imagination. And let’s face it, customers can get on your last nerve. Whether you’re working the phones, answering emails, waiting tables, or receiving visitors at the front desk, you’ll need to keep these phrases in mind.
This article will be particularly helpful if you’re behind the scenes on Twitter, interacting with customers in the DM or working in a call center. Here are five phrases to help you to contain the situation with angry customers who want a refund at all cost.
Screenshot from Salesforce
1.”We are sorry.”
There are three things apologizing will do:
- It will show that you empathize with the customer
- It will calm the customer down
- It will help even you to calm down
Customers want to know that they are heard – they want to feel that you understand their pain or grievance. Arguing or mechanically responding to the company’s policy will only make them irate.
Businesses go through tough and peculiar times; technical glitches occur, logistics problems creep up at the last minute, vendors disappoint, and customers decide that they are not impressed with the product or service. According to a report by Salesforce, 62% of respondents say they will share their bad experiences with others. These unsatisfied customers go to social media to vent their frustrations and elicit the outrage of their audience. This can backfire on the reputation and business of the brand, preventing potential leads from taking the next step towards becoming clients/customers. It seems logical, that customer service agents need to employ greater tact in dealing with frustrated customers off and online, and expressing sincere apologies is a good way to do this.
“I am sorry about the situation.” “We are sorry that this has taken much longer than expected.”
Screenshot from Venngage.com
2. “I can understand how you must feel.”
Sometimes just saying sorry only aggravates a customer, because you really don’t know the series of events that have led up to their annoyance. To them, sorry sounds like a weak, unhelpful thing to say. A customer wants to hear something concrete about the timeline of their refund, they want some compensation for their bad experience with your product or service, and they want the issue resolved without delay. Consider the negative outcomes that they may be contending with as a result of your business, for some the negative outcome has led to the loss of life and property.
Customer service teams need to prioritize empathy and show customers that they really care. Instead, a lot of businesses send out generic, tone-deaf messages that do little to appease angry customers. A good thing to say at such a time as this is that you can understand how they feel, and you’re doing the best you can to help them.
Customer service managers should organize work trainings that equip their agents with the requisite skills to show empathy at all times, whether they are on location in an office building or working remotely from the comfort of their homes.
“I can understand how you must feel, but I assure you that we are processing refunds as fast as we can.”
3. “We do not take your patience for granted.”
Granted, the process of a refund can take time because proper accounting has to be done and several organizational procedures need to be observed. However, the customer cannot be bothered to hear or understand this, because for them, the payment was done in a matter of seconds. They expect that the same speed will be employed to get their refund, sadly this is often not the case.
Waiting endlessly for a refund that may (or may not) be desperately needed to purchase another product will upset anyone, and it is easy to think (especially in a time when companies are reeling from the effects of the pandemic and movement restrictions) that one’s money might be lost forever. Therefore, simply asking customers to be patient seems insensitive. Instead, you should let them know that you recognize their patience, and that the company’s intention is not to stretch it any further. It also helps to highlight their communication history (if any) with your organization, to let them know that you recognize all their efforts to resolve the issue promptly.
A study shows that positive psychological activities—such as extending empathy to others, especially when you don’t have to—improve well-being and build interactional satisfaction.
“It is not our intention to take your patience for granted, we are working to pay your refund within the shortest time possible.”
4. “Rest assured that you will receive your refund in full.”
No matter how many times you have said it, say it again. It’s important to realize that customers are impatient simply because they are scared, and your goal should be to ease that fear. The reassuring tone that this phrase conveys, fills the customer with renewed confidence in the integrity of your business. Be sure to include extra details and assurances like: “We have sent your request to the refunds department”, “If you do not hear from us by the end of the month, please reach out to us”. Give customers something to hold on to while they are waiting.
It is crucial to add that refunds will be made in full because it sets the customer’s mind at ease to know that nothing will be lost from their encounter with your business. Customers (Salesforce reports that 72% of them will share their good experience with others) will go about telling their friends that your business has promised a full refund, and this will send a clear message: You can trust us.
“Rest assured that you will receive your refund in full, we are committed to making every experience with us a pleasant one.” “Rest assured that you will receive your full refund within the next few weeks.”
Screenshot by Lola Opatayo
5. “Is there anything else I can do for you today?”
What this question does is that presents the customer with some kind of closure. Is there anything else I can do? It gives your business a fantastic opportunity to use this as a kind of CRM tool.
Much more than settling the conflict over refunds, this question presents the customer with an opportunity to evaluate your business in a split second and share what specific things they think you can improve upon. In response to this question, a client once revealed to a customer service representative how an outlet of the business was performing illegal activities in the guise of expanding their client database. This representative was then able to escalate the situation to the appropriate authorities, and it was curtailed before any serious damage was done.
This question is an excellent opportunity to get feedback and customer service representatives should take it seriously.
The job of a customer service representative is demanding, requiring people management skills and patience to deal with the most unreasonable customers. However, showing extra concern will not only improve communication KPIs and strengthen your brand’s reputation but will also improve your own mental health as you do your best to make others feel better in unpleasant circumstances.
Nikola Baldikov is a Digital Marketing Manager at Brosix, specializing in SAAS marketing, SEO, and outreach strategies. Besides his passion for digital marketing, he is an avid fan of football and loves to dance. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter at @baldikovn.