General discussion


What do you do to talk a user/customer

By zlitocook ·
Down from being irate or distrusting the help desk or you being the live person?
You get to the user who just spent an hour on the phone with the help desk. They are mad and want to do bad things to the computer or you. So what do you do to get the person in a better mood if it is possible?
I look at each job/user as a new possibility and try to learn from each one.
There is always the one person who can not be helped but I still try to make my visit a good one. And hopefully leave a good impression of IT with them.

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don't frown, shout or swear - remain calm polite

by Deadly Ernest In reply to What do you do to talk a ...

speak clearly and make a point of saying things like "I'm her to help", "How may I help you" "What can I do" make lots of I and ME statements.

This helps to disassociate you from their current anger. Once they calm down try to tactfully find out the cause of their anger and see if you can defuse it.

Above all don't promise anything that you can not deliver on.

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First Things First...

by sloan In reply to don't frown, shout or swe ...

Earnest is right -- to calm the user down, listen. Not just to the first part of their first sentence, but to everything they are saying. If they go into a tirade about the "crappy" support, let them, then tell them that you are sorry for their experience, and "let's see if we can find the right solution this time.

When you listen to just a part of their problem description, and assume a solution, you will only make them more angry/upset. Be sure to give verbal feedback to show that you have listened to all of what they are saying, and understand the problem as they described it. If they correct parts of your description, be sure to acknowlege that too.

In a former position, I dealt only with the users who were angry. They had already been through levels 1 and 2 of tech support, or had called a regional or district manager after getting the run-around at a store.

I found that if you defused the source of their anger - usually caused by people not listening to them - you could then move on to solve the problem. It's important to remember that when you get a call like this, that you now have two problems to solve, and the first one is whatever caused the user's frustration with the help desk or tech support. Their technical problem comes second. If you do not address the source of their anger, you have no hope of solving their tech problem.

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Right on Sloan

by BlueKnight In reply to First Things First...

You hit the nail on the head. In the rush to keep up with problems, many IT workers listen to the first part of a user's problem description, then assume the rest of the story follows the other 127 similar calls for service -- but this one is different.

When you encounter an irate customer/user, follow the old Proverb: "Agree with thy adversary quickly." (Even if you don't believe "your people" were wrong).

This generally serves to calm the irate person down to the point where they can see you are trying to help them, and they become much more reasonable. Continue with being courteous and polite, and work the problem out.

I have found that using this approach always brings the irate person back to a rashional attitude, and frequently, they will recognize that they made the error that caused the problem, without my having to say anything other than to ask questions relative to solving their problem. Make suggestions for avoiding the same problem in the future, but NEVER accuse them of causing the problem.

If your shop operates on a chargeback system like ours, you need those customers, so it's in your best interest to foster good relations.

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Try this..... Transactional Analysis

by iShango In reply to First Things First...

Transactional analysis talks about parent,child and adult states of mind and while one side of a conversation is not in the Adult (Information sharing) mode no progress can be made.

Easiest wqy to take the wind out of their sails is to use a line like...." What have we done this time"

It means you are not going to play their game i.e. argue, you are hinting that there may be fault on your side of the transaction and you are asking for information. Once they move to the adult state and start giving information then you can work out the problem and answer.

I've used these techniques in many fiercly confrontative face to face situations and it has never failed. Works on the phone too but requires some care with the style of language.

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Don't be scared to admit a fault ...

by taramouse01 In reply to Try this..... Transaction ...

Often my customers just want confirmation that the fault lies with our company/technology/docs rather than telling them they are doing something wrong.

Often if you say "We may not have documented this clearly enough, but you need to do this..." gets a better response than, "You are doing that wrong, you need to do this..."

Also be polite, listen and let them have a blast at you, don't take it personally and try to make them laugh before they leave. If you can't fix someone, try and find out whats wrong and ring them back.

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Customer Service/Conflict Resolution

by IntenseMind In reply to First Things First...

Well put. Everyone will have an opinion or strategy here. The fact remains that every employee is serving someone else at some point in time and every employee should get training in service and resolution. Employee to employee conflicts should be resolved more quickly if you have this training embedded.

For external customers however the problem can be more tense even abusive. I like to put some structure to things so that I can remember the steps necessary to deal with extreme situations and I just found a nice site that does so in an easy to follow summary. See - this can be a start to remembering what you need to do in these situation; if you never had the training.

Good job all...


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Good Advice (but IMO not quite enough)

by artful In reply to don't frown, shout or swe ...

The hardest lesson to learn -- I've been in the business for 24 years -- is that you MUST fire your worst clients.

Everything you wrote is correct. I have no dispute with any of it. But IME the real world intrudes upon the best laid plans. (If you want to make God laugh, tell Her your plans.)

Back to Firing Your Worst Customers: applying the 80-20 rule, 80% of your income comes from 20% of your clients, and conversely, 80% of your pointless labour is expended upon the worst 20% of your clients. Fire them! Go canoeing and camping. Remember the spouse you married and the kids you are raising. Waste not another moment on clients who deserve to be fired!

Clue #1: "Why can't you just move this over here and that over there? It seems easy enough." Translation: Do it right now for free.

Clue #2: "That's not what I meant when I said Sales by State by Client. I meant that I should be able to choose the State and the Client, and select many states and clients, and the report should correspond. I mean, how hard is that?"

Clue #3: "You're a month late with the deliverables. I think we might be a month late with the cheque."

There are hundreds of bad clients out there, and the independent consultant who wishes to succeed must learn how to fire them.

Arthur Fuller

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Mostly listen

by JamesRL In reply to What do you do to talk a ...

Active listening includes asking questions of clairifcation and feeding back some of what they tell you to assure clarity. But the most important part is to listen to them without being defensive or judgemental. You don't have to agree with them, but you do have to make an effort to understand them and their perspective.


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And Add

by w2ktechman In reply to Mostly listen

that you are looking into multiple possibilities and even if this has been asked/tried before, the outcome may not have been recorded properly, and it may be detrimental to solve the issue.

I have had to use this several times, because I ask a user to try something, they say "I already did that". Funny thing, 3 of 5 times it works....
As long as you have their attention, it can help to diffuse. Not always, but the majority of bad callers have felt like the helpdesk wasnt helping, and in some cases, made it worse because they either didnt listen (assumed) or communication was not good in the first place. These people want to be heard, and want you to understand that they have a problem that needs resolution.
Of course, there are also the spoiled A-holes out there as well, and they are a much different kind to work for/with. These people need to be handled by a manager if you cannot handle them yourself. If not, you can make the situation worse.

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Pass along information

by jdmercha In reply to What do you do to talk a ...

First find out why they are so irate. Some times they should be irate. Then you just agree with them, fix the problem or explain why it is out of your control. If they don't have a good reason to be irate, then they probably just need a better understanding of how things work. (or why they don't work)

There will always be a few people that you can't do anything with, but most people just need to know they arte not alone in their misery.

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