Eight ways of how customer support can make customer angry

Most of the time, clients contact the support service when they are already dissatisfied. However, sometimes, a client comes with a simple question, "What is my minimum payment?", while an operator in the communication process asks him for his phone number. "I'm calling you from it! Let's hurry up! " And off we go. As a result, an initially friendly-minded customer, hits the roof, and the dialogue drags on. Once, I noticed how the operator in one airline company spent a whole hour talking with a client - these are all company expenses. It can be reduced by merely providing the correct answer and closing the consumer's question the first time. Let's look at eight typical situations when support specialists provoke customers and how this can be prevented.

Occasionally when a client writes to the chat, an operator advises him to call by phone. Other times, a person asked for help on Facebook, and he was sent to write an email. Others may choose to call, but being transferred from one operator to another several time. Naturally, having finally reached the right operator, even the most loyal customer will be unhappy and annoyed. These are typical situations that are caused by systematic support services errors.

Extra communication channels. When clients are given several communication channels at once, but support service answers only via one of those. For example, suppose a client accidentally reaches the accounting department or security service or even the general administrator. In that case, they will be switched from one channel to another until the correct team is found. To prevent this from happening, give customers only that channel through which they could get a response to the particular query.

Manual sorting of dialogues. When employees manually sort dialogues and face a question that can not be answered by themselves, they send it to the second support line or another department. As a result, such work approach always comes with a risk of errors. Automate your support process. With UseDesk, this can be done by distributing hits in chats and requests.

Lack of skills among operators. Front line staff are not sufficiently trained or empowered. Therefore, they have to switch the client back and forth. Train your employees or replace them with more proficient ones. If there are frequent situations where the front line team could answer, but according to the rules, the second line operator should answer such query, rules need to be revised.

Lack of dialogue between the lines. The first line switches the client to the second line without any explanation. This approach reduces the first line dialogue time but leaves the client need to re-describe the problem to the second line operator. Consequently, not only the client gets irritated, but also the overall communication time increases.

Moreover, it is likely that in such an approach, the initial misunderstanding of the problem will provoke the client to come back again and again. To prevent this from happening, change the rules for working with appeals. Make the first-line operator contact the second-line team and explain the situation before switching to the client. The second line operator will then be more knowledgeable about the situation, and the client won't need to repeat the request.
Katerina Vinokhodova
Usedesk co-founder
Ask your clients additional question
It often happens that the client is asked what he has already written or said. For example, the operator did not notice the photo or screenshot, did not check the previous correspondence, or asked the client's phone number, although he should recognize it already. That instantly annoys the customer. To solve the problem, talk to the operators, figure out why they are so inattentive. Perhaps their workload is too high, or they face a lack of experience, lack of motivation, or the employee, in principle, is not suitable for such work. Try to systemize operators' work by adding a mandatory checklist that all employees must go through before sending a client's response.
Ask clients about what they do not understand
For instance, an operator could ask: "Prompt your browser version" or "Tell your contract number." And typically, the client's response will be: "???? What !? What sort of browser !? What number!? Where can I get it !? " Suppose you get an impression that the client does not know where to get the necessary data to understand the problem, prompt him, or give detailed instructions. Otherwise, he will not follow your question, get offended, potentially freaking out, or leave without any further problems due to a fear of looking stupid. Besides instructions, make sure you explain why certain information is needed to give an impression that you are not just asking it out of curiosity.
— Hello, I cannot open the shift at the cash register.

— Good day! Tell the serial number of the cash register.

— ???? what's the serial number? Tell me what to do with the cash register. Buyers are waiting for me !!!
— Hello, I cannot open the shift at the cash register.

— Good day! I will check how it is displayed on the system. Please can you tell me the serial number of the cash register - it is 10 digits on the side of your machine.

— 2115702298
Ignoring customer question
If the client asks several questions at once, you need to answer specifically to each, not giving a general answer.
— Tatiana, your laptop is ready. You can pick it up tomorrow.

— Well! Thank you! What time can I come? And what happened to it in the end?

— From 10:00 to 20:00.

— OK. So what happened to it ??
— Tatiana, your laptop is ready. You can pick it up tomorrow.

— Well! Thank you! What time can I come? And what happened to it in the end?

— From 10:00 to 20:00. There was a lot of dust inside, and the fan couldn't keep up.

— Got it. Thank you so much! I'll drive up tomorrow morning.
Not making sure you understood the client correctly
Understanding what the client is saying is 90% of the solution to the problem. Support may not understand the client when the client formulates something in his terminology, and the operator understands his terms differently. For example, a customer says "site" but is referring to an application. Or the client asks: "Is your site down?" But in fact, he forgot his application password. Firstly, you need to understand in detail what the client is asking about.

1. Make sure there is no discrepancy in the client's question. Although, when some words or phrases are not clear, it is better to re-ask and clarify what they mean. Make sure you are wording your clarification efficiently, and instead of going back with questions like "What do you mean?" or "I do not understand, please repeat." Try to be more cunning, and place your questions differently. These phrases are not streamlined. It may seem that the client will now tell more details, but in fact, he will repeat the same and get frustrated.
«The application does not work for me.»

— What exactly doesn't work?

— Application.

— What do you mean by that? Explain in more detail.

— Application!!! Your application doesn't work for me !! What else to explain !?
Option 1. Question with an alternative - give two options to choose from: — The application does not work for me. — Do I understand correctly that you have already opened the application, and everything is frozen? Or is the app just loading?

Option 2. Open-ended question with response structure - help the client formulate the problem in steps: — The application does not work for me. — Please tell me step by step what is happening. You opened the application, clicked "create payment," and then ...

Option 3. Question with an alternative and a solution - suitable in cases where the solution to the problem is simple and consists of one step: — The application does not work for me. — If the application does not respond to your actions, try to restart it. If you are still getting an error, please send us a screenshot to analyse.
2. Play back how you understood the client's question. For example, "Do I understand correctly what you need…. "Or" Let's recap. ... Is that correct, I haven't missed anything? " So the operator can check himself and confirms that he understood everything correctly. If you think that everything is transparent and don't refine the information, it is effortless to make a mistake.

As a result, the operator will do what the client does not need or answer another question, which he hasn't asked. Hence why the operator will waste time and the client will be enraged.

However, there is no need for absurdity in such a technique. Some call centers mindlessly repeat every question after the client. Explain to the operators that summarising the situation is only necessary for verification and exclusively when the operator misunderstood something or doubts his conclusions.
— I need an extract from February.

— Do I understand correctly that you need an extract from February?

— YES!! ???? CORRECT !!!
— I need a report about employees

— Please find the screenshot example attached. Did I understand correctly that you are keen on the report to look like this?

— No, I need it like this ...
Leave clients with uncertainty on timings and ways of solving his problem
Sometimes in it impossible to solve the problem right away - it takes several days or even weeks. For example, a client has reported a bug or needs a more detailed report. It is not enough to say, "The task is in progress." Tormented by the unknown, the client will get nervous and periodically call with more questions. To avoid this, you should provide the customer with a straightforward explanation about what will be done after this conversation. For example: "Now we will send information to our testers, and if the bug is confirmed, we will proceed with the resolution. Afterward, once developers evaluate the task, they will establish the estimates, and we will make sure we are informing you about how long the fix may take". The customer should have a picture in his head of what the support service will do and how much time is required. At any point, the client must feel in control of the situation: the operator understood everything, and the problem would get sorted and not leftover.
— Hello! My scooter rental is not ending.

— Good day! Send the scooter number.

— 154878451

— Send the photo of it

— ????

.... 10 minutes have passed ...

— Well!? I sent everything. And what now? I stand here waiting. When will something happen !? How long do I have to hang around here !!?
— Hello! My scooter rental is not ending.

— Hello! Please send us the number of your scooter and it's photo. After 5 minutes, we will complete your rental, check everything, and inform you immediately.
Give the client a complicated answer
The client does not have to translate the operator's response to human language. He should not think, "What did the operator mean here?" Once that happens, it is off. Such verification should not occur in the client's mind: "Probably, they meant that ...". No, the information must be unambiguous, without alterations.

The answer is poorly framed.
You should never send the client a continued text without subheadings, paragraphs, or examples. Moreover, don't include confusing long sentences with formalisms and clerical. The answer should be provided in a structured and straightforward way, as you would explain to your grandmother.

Incomprehensible screenshots, links and instructions. If you are giving a screenshot, use arrows to indicate where to look. If supplying instructions, make sure you describe the procedure step by step. If you are stating that the information is on the site, ensure the link is also provided to clarify where the person is directed to. Expressions like "here" or "by link" and not ideal.

Specific terminology. The client must understand the meaning of all the discussed terms. For example, if the operator asks: "You should check that your TS is charging." The client is most likely to respond with: "What is TS, ???? !? What kind of TS !? " Later, the vehicle turns out to be the subject of the conversation. The company uses this term (TS) internally, but the client might not understand it; hence, it necessitates replacing it with the familiar word "scooter."
❌ NO
✔️ YES
Demonstrate your indifference
You don't have to force the support team to love customers. Showing empathy and caring is not needed to highlight abstract love for the client. The operator expresses sympathy to prevent negative client's reactions and simplify communication. He must be able to recognize and manage a customer's emotions.
— Everything is broken for me; I need it urgently!

— Hello! Could you please provide me with your contract number?

— Are you mad ???? !? What contract number !? It's broken, and I need it urgently!
— Everything is broken for me; I need it urgently!

— I understand that the inquiry is pressing, and we start looking into it now. To support discovering the cause of the problem, we need your contract number. Could you please provide me with it?
If the client speaks emotionally and expresses his feelings clearly, the operator must react to this. For example, if the client says, "I'm so upset. It's just awful! y", You have to say:" Yes, the situation is very unpleasant. We understand and agree that it should be that way. We clear on the matter, and I'll do my best to help you right away. So let's figure it out together. " This will help to reduce the emotional level, and you can avoid unnecessary problems.

The main goal of communicating with customers is not to make them happy. The company has a practical purpose of satisfying customers, increasing their invoices, but reduce the required support time. Therefore, the employee's task is to solve the client's issue and reduce repeated calls immediately.
Time to summarize
To avoid provoking conflicts with your clients, eliminate the common errors of the support service:

1. Ensure that the client immediately gets to the operator who can help him without redundant switching between lines.

2. Systematize operators' work not to ask the same questions twice and avoid unnecessary questions.

3. Train the operators:

  • ask questions in understandable to the client terminology and explain why he is asked about this
  • answer all client's questions without any exceptions
  • make sure that they always understand the client query correctly before going to resolve the issue
  • always explain to clients how and in what time frame the team will solve their problem
  • respond in a clear, structured, and understandable language
  • competently show empathy.

Apply the above advice, and your support service will save you dozens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars since satisfied customers will purchase your services and/or products more often while contacting you less.
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