You pick up the phone, and the person on the end of the line is obviously having a bad day. When you're working with angry customers, your job is to make sure that you react appropriately to that customer. How can you make sure that a customer's bad day doesn't become a problem for you or your insurance company?
If a customer calls you and is furious about something that's not covered in their insurance policy, your first and best solution is to remain calm. Don't take what that person says personally, even if it is directed at you. By staying calm, you can work with that person to create a plan to address the problem. If you see red as well, then neither of you will be happy.
Listen and Sympathize
The last thing your customer wants to hear is a long explanation of why you did something – or why your customer is wrong. This will just make your customer more angry. Instead, take the time to carefully listen and make sure that person feels heard. Sometimes you may have to listen for a very long time before you talk. At that point, sympathize with their problem before you work to find a solution.
Connect in a Personal Way
Connecting with an upset customer in a personal way can be helpful. Employees can begin with the customer's name as a way to personalize the conversation, and if possible, employees can also look up the customer's information on file. With some information about the customer's past needs, it's possible to address that person in the context of their past transactions, which helps to convey to the customer that they are respected and cared for as an individual.
Step Away From the Cookie Cutter
Some customers need to know the specific details of an insurance plan and feel like they want to question those details. Others need sympathy when they've had a bad day. As your insurance employees talk with angry customers, they need to determine what tone those customers respond to the best. According to The Muse, working well with customers is "about picking up on the tone, knowledge, and personality of the person you’re talking to."
This can be a difficult one. What if the customer actually did something wrong and you are correct? What if the problem is not yours to fix? According to Forbes, you should still apologize: "a simple, straightforward statement is often all that’s needed."
Help Solve the Problem
The problem that the customer has may not be yours to solve. For instance, a customer may be unhappy because they need to conduct a transaction in person and they've missed the bus that will get them to your insurance agency before closing. Even if you can't entirely solve the problem, see if you can figure out a solution with the customer. Can you stay open for 5 more minutes? Can you do part of the transaction on the phone?
Whether you're looking for hiring support or insurance marketing ideas, American Agents Alliance can help. Are you curious to see how we can support your independent insurance agency? Contact us today.