I'm Just Taking Notes

At some point, all of us will have to deal with an unsatisfied customer over the telephone. This can be a very uncomfortable experience for both parties if not handled properly. I will share with you some steps that I learned from one of my mentors on how to diffuse the situation and get the customer back in your good graces.

  1. Listen to hear, not to respond.

    • Most customers just want to vent to somebody and once they know you are listening, they will many times even apologize to you for their initial behavior.

    • The moment you try to get your point across or interrupt them, you have just added fuel to the fire by implying to the customer that their voice doesn't matter or that they have talked enough. 
    • Interruptions also consist of agreeing with the customer because it can break the flow of their conversation.
  3. "I'm Just Listening and Taking Notes"

    • If you have done the first two steps correctly, this step will seal the deal! Since you have not responded with even the occasional "Uh-huh" or "I see", the customer will eventually run out of things to say and ask  "Are You Still There?". 
    • They have probably had people hang up on them in the past so they will check to make sure that you haven't done the same. (And they are preparing to "rip you a new one" if you did.)
    • After the question "Are You Still There?" is asked, your response needs to be, "Yes, I'm Just Taking Notes".
    • At this point you will feel the customer take a sigh of relief and you can now get to addressing the reason for their call.
  4. Try not address the issue right then and there unless it is something with a fairly common solution, i.e. they simply need to schedule an appointment and were unable to in the past.

    • The best way to handle the issue is to let the customer know that you will take your notes, gather some more information and then give them a call back later that day. As long as you call them back as you promised and have a solution to their problem, you have most likely saved that customer!