The Customer May Always Be Right, But Your Employees Still Deserve Protection
We’ve all heard the saying that the customer is always right. Unfortunately, when you have a team of employees to consider, this mindset can significantly oversimplify the issue for customer service approaches overall. This is especially true when it comes to abusive unhappy customers who may swear, demean, and even become aggressive with the staff members attempting to help them.
In this instance, the customer most definitely isn’t right, and is a direct risk to the safe working environment that is every employee’s right. The question is, how can you make sure to protect your team members without damaging reputations overall?
Take steps to keep customers onside
The absolute best way to diffuse tense customer situations without annoying anyone is to simply avoid them in the first place. After all, no employee should face even a hint of aggression when attempting to do their jobs. Luckily, by ensuring smooth customer journeys from start to finish, it should be possible to significantly reduce the risks of a situation like this.
Going way back in customer journeys, even ensuring relevant and interested clients through the use of local SEO services and decent web design is a great way to ensure a client base that fits well with company standards and expectations. Further to this, ensuring satisfactory delivery processes, and customer service solutions that always see the right person matched with the right agent (often best achieved through the help of bots or outsourced CS solutions), can help to diffuse any frustration, and help clients to see that everyone on your team is doing best and doesn’t deserve abusive behavior!
Have a clear conflict resolution policy
Unfortunately, even the best efforts won’t be enough to eliminate every single unhappy or abusive customer interaction, especially considering that consumers set on this path of behavior may not be open to logical resolutions. As such, it’s also vital to implement a clear conflict resolution policy that provides something for every team member to fall back on if they sense a situation spiraling out of control. Things that you’ll especially want to include in this policy, which should then be shared with every single member of the workplace, are priorities such as –
- Techniques including tactical empathy
- Quick ways to address customer concerns
- The ability to seek fast supervisor assistance
- And more
Prioritizing employee training is the best way to boost personal development regardless of the situation, but the need for the right tools to handle even angry customers means that ample and regularly updated customer service training is particularly essential.
Within this focus, care should especially be taken with priorities like empathy training, which will arm your forward-facing team members with the tools that they require to keep a calm head, and hopefully de-escalate situations that threaten violence. Training focuses that can especially help in this sense include –
- Tactical language training
- Communication courses
- Reflective listening skills
- And more
In each instance, you’re ensuring that these team members can keep a cool head, and are thus better able to manage any situation without getting too personally involved, or worsening escalating violence.
Ensure a management team that’s willing to step in
Despite these best efforts, some customers will be hell-bent on abuse and aggression, even when offered every possible solution that a customer service team can offer.
In this instance, managers must step in, especially considering that many consumers who abuse customer service staff or similar will be far more respectful when speaking to management.
Even better, managers are in a position to make judgment calls about when to cut off communications or threaten further action against customers that employees may not feel safe or able to threaten.
In some respects, ensuring that team members can easily contact management when they’re on the phone, either by flagging them over or using computer-based collaboration tools, is the best option in this sense. That way, management will be aware of the situation and keep an eye out for unreasonable escalations.
A present and supportive management team are also essential in this sense, ensuring that employees feel safe in handing over calls that become abusive without feeling as though their job standing will suffer as a result.
Abuse in any form is not acceptable in the workplace, and that’s true no matter where it’s coming from. Hence why, instead of just assuming the customer is always right, it’s essential to put these employee protections in place during any forward-facing interactions.