Strategies to handle customers who won’t take a “no”

In the call center world, it is very common for telephone advisors to encounter refusals from customers. This increases when it comes to campaigns such as telemarketing or collections or when the company’s product or service generates frequent complaints in the support or customer service area.

Some customers can be difficult to handle and can cause frustration for both the customer and the consultant. It is important that call center agents are trained to handle these situations effectively, since, according to a Zendesk report, 76% of consumers say they prefer to do business with a competitor after a bad experience.

Here are some strategies that advisors can use to handle customers who will not take a “no” for an answer:

Empathetic listening

First, it is important for advisors to listen carefully to what the client is saying. Many times, clients who will not take a “no” for an answer simply want to be heard and feel that their opinion is valued.

Therefore, it is important for the agent to pay attention to what the client is saying and show interest in their concerns. If we consider that 70% of shopping experiences are based on how the customer feels they are treated, we understand the importance of making the customer feel comfortable and engaged in the agent experience and not threatened, harassed or misunderstood.

It is not only a matter of listening well to every word the customer says, but above all of having the ability to read between the lines. A customer who complains loudly about a service may be having one of the worst days of his life and needs not only a solution to his problem with the brand, but also someone to help him regain his composure.

Take the customer’s perspective

Once the advisor has listened to the customer, it is important to make sure they understand why they have been given a negative answer to what they are requesting. For this, empathy remains a fundamental tool.

One strategy that helps generate this empathetic relationship is to first thank the customer for either continuing to do business with the brand or for getting in touch to share their annoyance or complaint. According to a Hubspot article, you should soften the blow with a sincere thank you at the beginning to show that the customer matters to you. To reiterate, it should be sincere as it should come from this effort by the advisor to put themselves in the other person’s perspective.

Look for alternatives

Actually, the customer is not always right, so sometimes you will not be able to give him what he asks for. However, a company should always offer alternatives that show the company’s interest in satisfying its customer. Studies, such as this by Salesforce, show that 78% of consumers would do business again with a company with excellent customer service even after a mistake.

Honesty and firmness

Empathy and politeness are not at odds with being frank. If the customer continues to insist on an answer that is not possible, the advisor should be polite but also confident. It is important not to let frustration set in and maintain a calm, professional tone of voice.

This may require the advisor to explain in detail the company’s policy or terms and conditions of service. If possible, you can offer alternatives that may meet the client’s needs.

In some cases, clients who will not take a “no” for an answer may become aggressive or even abusive. The agent should remain calm and use a calm, professional tone of voice. If the client continues to be abusive, the agent may choose to end the call and refer the matter to a supervisor or transfer the call to a member of the problem-solving team. These staff members may have more decision-making authority and may be able to offer a solution that satisfies the consumer.

Provide follow-up

Whether the customer’s experience was positive or negative in the end, be sure to stay in touch to verify that the problem was resolved and how their experience was. In this way you will strengthen the relationship and let them know that your company cares about them and will be available to them if they want to do new business.

It is important that advisors listen to the customer, clearly explain company policy, offer alternatives if possible, and maintain a calm and respectful tone of voice at all times. We reiterate the importance of empathy, since the most important thing is not to make the client accept a “no”, but to make them understand why and at the same time feel valued.

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