Customer service tactics to improve retention

Keeping your cool in the customer service business can be tricky, because as much as you may want to express how you really feel to a customer, retention is more important to a company than your personal satisfaction.

Keeping your cool in the customer service business can be tricky, because as much as you may want to express how you really feel to a customer, retention is more important to a company than your personal satisfaction.

Business Insider recently provided some tips for how to handle unruly customers, while at the same time maintaining a professional demeanor and possibly increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

For example, one way to diffuse a potentially volatile situation is to make statements such as "I understand," "That must be so frustrating" and "Let's see what we can do to fix this." These phrases show the customer that you're on their side instead of working against them. 

Furthermore, the tried and true mantra "Kill 'em with kindness" certainly applies to most customer service-related situations. "It's hard to maintain a good rage when you're faced with someone who insists on remaining calm, polite and reasonable," the news source notes. However, it's important not to intentionally keep a pleasant demeanor as a way to irritate an irate customers, as this can be just as harmful as responding negatively.

Resisting the urge to fight back is not only professional and adult, but can also avoid a possible public relations nightmare.

AOL recently reported a story about Boners BBQ, a restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia, which took a perceived poor tip from a customer way too far.

The company alleged the a woman, "Stephanie S." didn't leave a tip on a $40 tab. The restaurant took to social media, tweeting "NOT WANTED" with a link to its Facebook fan page. On the page was the woman in question's photo, and a expletive-laden warning to other restaurants about her tipping habits.

It turned out that "Stephanie" actually used a $10 coupon that the posters were not aware of, resulting in a $7.20 tip. Once the whole story was reposted on Reddit and went viral, people started leaving a slew of one-star reviews on Boners' Yelp page. The company also received a plethora of negative tweets and was slammed by UnMarketing for the "worst use of social media in 2012."

This was a situation in which another of Business Insider's tips - "Just let it go" - would have been a more effective way to handling a situation.