5 Worst and Most Common Service and Support Situations Solved!

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This SupportIndustry.com brief poses and answers the 5 worst and most common customer service situations.

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5 Worst and Most Common Service and Support Situations Solved!

  1. 1. 5 Worst and Most Common Service and Support Situations - Solved!Have you encountered challenging customer situations? Most customer contact operations have no lack ofthem. And even though these situations may seem like patients in different rooms of a hospital, in realitythey generally fall into a few predictable categories. Learn the mechanics of handling your worsttransactions, and everything changes in terms of morale, performance, and customer satisfaction levels.Here are 5 examples of really tough support situations, together with techniques for how to solve them.Learn these skills, and watch your confidence and skill levels go up.I. When people demand what they cant haveA customer demands same-day support for a technical problem. The problem is she did not pay for same-daysupport. She (or more accurately, her boss) paid for the 48-hour-response-by-e-mail support plan. Not thatany of this matters to her: "My boss is a complete goof, and besides, this problem is due to a bug in yoursoftware anyway!" How do you respond?  First, name and acknowledge her demands: "OK, so you feel that this issue is our fault, and you were hoping to get same-day support for this issue."  Next, focus on what you can do, not what you cant do: "Here are a couple of options. I could point you to some self-help resources online and see if they might help. Second, we do have an upgrade available to your service plan, for a fee. Or if you prefer, we will still be happy to provide a response within 48 hours of when you called, and it may in fact be sooner."  Finally, ask her to solve the problem: "Which of these options would work best for you?"II. Quelling a social media firestorm"Your product is horrible!" bellows a customer on your Facebook fan page. And a few others are starting tochime in. What do you do now?  First, realize that you have two customers to respond to: the original complainant, and the others who may be reading these posts. This means that you must not only address the issue, but express a willingness to be helpful that "brands" you in the eyes of others.  Second, keep it short. Which means that, for all but the simplest of problems, you need to take the problem offline. For example, "Hi Steve! We hear how frustrated you are, and we want to make things right. E-mail the particulars to CusCare@OurCompany.com and well give this situation priority."  Third, make it quick. Silence implies a lack of interest or concern. And worst of all is posting chirpy responses to easier or less critical issues, while ignoring tough situations.5 Worst and Most Common Service and Support Situations - Solved! Page 1
  2. 2. III. "Dont you know who I am?"How do you handle an entitled, arrogant customer who demands that you drop everything and give hisproblem priority over everything else? Try these steps.  Mirror the customers emotions. If they feel the problem is bad, then its horrible! Give him and his problem the importance he is seeking, even if you cannot give him what he is demanding.  Use the LPFSA - the Low Probability Face Saving Alternative. For example, "Even though we cant promise a response today, I will personally check with my manager to see if we can escalate the priority of this." This gives the arrogant customer the "win" he seeks.  Set appropriate boundaries. If he continues to press you, acknowledge him while setting boundaries. "I can tell by your tone of voice how frustrated you are about this. I wish I could prioritize this ahead of our other customers; however, we will do our very best to resolve this as quickly as we can."IV. When you are at faultWhat do you do when you or your company completely messed up? Too often, people try to defendthemselves, minimize the situation, or worse, say nothing -- all of which make the customer much angrier.Try these 3 steps instead. 1. Take complete ownership. This means not only acknowledging the problem but the impact on the customer, with as much "gusto" as they are expressing. 2. Ask first. Make the customer a partner in co-creating a solution with you, and ask them first what would make the situation right. Worried that they will demand the moon and stars? They might! But if you acknowledge them and negotiate in good faith, you will get much further than if you go ostrich. 3. Practice good service recovery. Proactively defuse the customers anger by offering more than what is needed to make them whole, with the involvement of your management if necessary. Insufficient service recovery has been at the root of many public relations and social media nightmares for companies.Finally, a parting suggestion: leverage your worst customer situations to improve your own service quality.Comb through your CRM system periodically. Find the ugliest, nastiest customer problems you can find. Thenhave a workshop with your team, role-playing these situations and coaching the skills people can use tohandle them. By learning from challenging situations, and using them to teach skills, you may discover thatyour worst customers are some of the best friends your customer contact center could have.5 Worst and Most Common Service and Support Situations - Solved! Page 2
  3. 3. About the authorRich Gallagher is a former customer service executive and practicing psychotherapist who heads the Point ofContact Group. He is the author of several books including the #1 customer service bestseller What to Say toa Porcupine. His latest book The Customer Service Survival Kit: What to Say to Defuse Even the WorstCustomer Situations examines how to handle your most difficult customer situations.About SupportIndustry.comSupportindustry.com provides senior-level service and support professionals with direct access toinformation on customer support, including enterprise strategies, people issues, technology, trends andresearch. This data enables support professionals to benchmark and improve their customer supportoperation. More information can be found at www.supportindustry.com.Citrix GoToAssist provides easy-to-use cloud-based solutions that enable organizations of all sizes to connectwith customers, employees and machines online. With GoToAssist, IT professionals can deliver fast, secureremote support and monitor IT infrastructures from anywhere. GoToAssist Corporate offers a comprehensivesolution that enables multi-agent support organizations to resolve their customers’ technical issues. Builtspecifically for IT managers, consultants and managed service providers, GoToAssist Remote Support andMonitoring tools accommodate both individual users and teams. The preferred choice in remote support,GoToAssist is recognized as the worldwide market leader by IDC and ranked highest in customer satisfactionaccording to TSIA research.For a free trial of GoToAssist or to learn more, visit www.gotoassist.com.5 Worst and Most Common Service and Support Situations - Solved! Page 3

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