Dealing with Difficult Customers--Part 2

I closed my last installment by writing that in customer service, there are no dictators and no doormats.  We are to lead firmly and confidently, but not harshly. Neither should we tolerate an abusive customer to run us over. Instead, we learned that we control our attitude by removing our emotions. When we do this, we also allow ourselves to look at the problem from a new point of view, that of the customer. When we look at things from their perspective and truly understand their circumstances. By understanding, and relating our understanding, we can be more empathetic to them which also leads to diffusing difficulties.

To be empathetic means that we can identify with the customer’s feelings. We not only understand, but we relate to the why behind their emotion. Empathy allows us to lead with our hearts in diffusing difficult situations.

Let’s discover what I mean by ‘Leading with your HEART’, which is the 2nd objective in overcoming difficult scenarios. Leading with your heart means that:

H – You Hear. You listen to the customer’s entire story.

E - You Empathize. Using phrases that convey you understand their circumstances and how they feel.

A - You Accept. You accept that their feelings about their circumstances are valid—if for no other reason than they are their feelings.

R - You Reassure. You reassure the customer that you understand and that their issue will be addressed. If possible, right then and there. And if not, then as quickly as possible. Finally…

T - You Take Action. You get to the bottom of the issue, fix it, or partner with someone who can.

Remember in my last segment that you should re-visit your personal event when things didn’t go so well in a customer service scenario. Think about how leading with HEART may have changed the outcome.

When we lead with H.E.A.R.T., the accusatory feelings of blame and fault are removed. Our personal feelings are no longer involved. Without the burden of blame and fault, we can efficiently get down to dealing with the issue.

Removing our emotions from difficult situations allows us greater objectivity and effectiveness.

When we lead with H.E.A.R.T. we open up our empathy and understanding. Therefore, providing a safe platform for the difficult borrower to let go of their negative emotions.

In my next installment, I’ll write about another objective in providing excellent customer service. Be ready to listen!


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