Customer Conflict Resolution Skills & Conflict Management Soft Skills to Re-build Customer Trust & Afford Quality CX

Customer Conflict Resolution Skills & Conflict Management Soft Skills to Re-build Customer Trust & Afford Quality CX

A woman can't believe that a retailer double-charged her debit card for a Nintendo Switch (OLED version) which was supposed to be a gift for her son; she decided to call customer support to complain and to demand that a re-imbursement be made for the double charge.

To succeed long-term in competitive global sales markets, your go-global business knows that customer retention – more than customer acquisition – is a key factor; as Callnovo mentioned regarding the best customer service practices to build customer loyalty:

“Successful customer retention increases sales market competition, ensuring
vital long-term sales benefits, bringing improved ROI/customer loyalty growth.”

Furthermore, customer loyalty growth offers additional short-and-long-term advantages to improve global sales success amongst competitors:

  • Increased Share-of-Wallet: the higher the loyalty, the more customers spend through you as opposed to your competition,
  • Brand Ambassadorship: loyal, repeat customers voice their positive customer experiences (CX) to others, benefiting brand loyalty growth, and
  • Increased Trust: customer loyalty indirectly results from/fosters strong rapport/trust – so, when customers frequently-return for purchases, their felt brand value highly-outweighs potential competitor benefits since customer acquisition is 5-10 times more costly than customer retention.

Considering the above, sustainable, long-term brand loyalty – though a strong goal to set eyes on – comes with challenges; a huge challenge to maintaining an ever-increasing, global customer base that sticks with you over competitors is continually-meeting high service expectations via consistent, high-quality customer engagement throughout the customer journey. A major caveat to such is customer conflict; according to a 3rd party:

“Customer conflict encompasses every conflict form between customers/businesses
they purchase products/services from; such conflict also includes situations where customers
purchase products/service subscriptions for employer use – as well as situations where
governmental suppliers sell products/services in the same manner as private businesses.”

In other words, consumer conflict encompasses any conflict situation arising between public/private customers and those they purchase from – regardless of product/service usage factors – and, such conflict is universal. No doubt your global company has had its CS team(s) on the front lines of customer conflict, coming up with viable solutions so customers can value their purchased products/services long-term, increasing continuous brand loyalty. According to Callnovo’s article on deescalation & 5 worthwhile de-escalation techniques, it’s natural for global consumers to become frustrated/upset – meaning the manner in which your CS team(s) deescalate customer issues is vital for long-term customer retention/loyalty.

So your go-global corporation’s CS team(s)’ customer service representatives (CSRs) can successfully-manage customer conflict and fortify renewed, long-term trust/rapport that motivates customers to value your brand and remain continually-loyal, let’s look at:

  • 12 conflict resolution skills & conflict management soft skills to re-build customer trust & afford quality CX, and
  • how Callnovo’s superb customer-centric outsourcing solutions help take your brand success to the next level.

Conflict Resolution Skills & Conflict Management Soft Skills

So your business can foster stellar customer-centric CS throughout the entire customer journey, let’s go through 12 key conflict resolution skills & conflict management soft skills.

Active Listening w/ Room to Breath

As Callnovo mentioned in their article on vital customer service soft skills that enhance customer engagement, active listening is essentially-important since customers want CSRs to go beyond hearing, being understood from the get-go. As such, active listening is a huge aspect of conflict resolution. Your CS teams should let customers uninterruptedly-explain themselves – important because your CSRs could find they’ve misinterpreted consumers’ original arguments, being thoroughly-equipped to handle compromising/collaborating on efficient solutions when they’ve actively-listened, thought correctly, and planned accordingly.

Calm Disposition

Remaining level-headed to rationally-think about customer case resolution that appeases each side is crucial; To avoid a discourteous tone when alleviating conflict, your CSRs must patiently-wait until they’ve let their emotions out before continuing conversation with customers, demonstrating calmness and showing they’re ready to considerately-discuss differing perspectives.

“I” Statement Usage

Conflict management is about what CSRs are doing correctly, trying to get the other side to understand. “I” statements – like “I feel I’m not getting the chance to explain myself” – positively-transform customer engagements, making CS team(s)’ arguments about their emotions, opinions, personal beliefs, morals, etc. rather than about what they don’t like about customers. Emotions, opinions, etc. make for a more respectful debate that reminds everyone that cognitively complex humans are involved.

“Yes, and” Statement Usage

It’s very easy to jump on the defensive – like Paris-Saint Germain’s renowned, quick-footed soccer (fútbol) player, Sergio Ramos, who plays center-back defense (for all you soccer fans). Though such can include a repertoire of phrases using “no” and “yes, but,” your CSRs should demonstrate a different point of view that’s cooperative/constructive. CSRs don’t need to agree; however, they can try to understand where customers are coming from. Have your CSRs refrain from those “I hear you, but” statements and utilize “Yes, I understand, and” statements that build off each another.

Willingness to Compromise/Collaborate

Depending on the situation, it may be best to simply avoid conflict – especially true for smaller, trivial conflicts. An accommodating style is best when customers care more about their needed solutions than your CSRs personally do; such a style is also best when time to make decisions is limited and your CS team(s) need to put their foot down. During other conflicts, coming to a viable agreement between CSRs and their consumers is essential – meaning your team should let go of pride and grip on each argument. Have your CSRs show customers that, though they consider conflicts important – presenting their side – they care more about resolving customer concerns in a productive manner.

Refraint from Back-stabbing

Customer conflict is only between your individual CSRs and their customers – simply put – unless divulging details is absolutely warranted for. There’s a golden rule about sensitive info. sharing: “share up, not out or down;” if your CSRs feel comfortable – and it’s significant to their responsibilities – then, they can trust in their supervisors and/or anyone in a superior position with such info. Such superiors can help navigate the situation, helping CSRs to form a support system for future, possible conflicts. The exception is: never share such details to colleagues in similar roles – nor to subordinates – as they most likely can’t offer the same support level. Conflict management/resolution must always be built on honesty, as well as trust in that such info. will remain confidential.

Digital Finger-pointing Restraint

Jumping on the offensive like the San Francisco 49ers’ infamous, agile left tackle, Donovan Smith (for all you NFL fans) can be considered as vulgar/not nice. Such an offensive disposition creates a stressful, negative foundation that’s nearly impossible to rectify. Your CS team(s) should refrain from blaming customers/creating a space where they feel unsafe to voice their opinions. To solve such conflict: allow consumers to frame arguments successfully without having your CSRs blame/shut them down.

Refraint from Taking Things Personally

Conflict between CSRs and their consumers isn’t personal – though it can be construed that way; most often, it involves company policies and/or unvoiced expectations that must be adhered to and that other people expect to be upheld. As such, your CS team(s) can learn to separate themselves from the conflict and accept compromise or a collaborated solution that’s more encouraging/productive for those involved.

Apologize, Forgive, and Forget

Here’s an ode to the two most difficult words to say during conflict: “I’m sorry.” Apologizing, forgiving, and forgetting are hard to do when your CSRs feel like they’ve been correct throughout; they must remember that pride deters them from making amends. Regardless, if your CSRs feel customers are responsible for making amends, ongoing customer relationships are most important to business’ success – so, have your CSRs put aside personal annoyances and forgive customers – which makes for healthier customer relationships going forward.

Conflict Resolution Prioritization

Consumer conflict typically involves more than your CSRs; frankly, each situation goes beyond your business. When your CSRs try to resolve conflict, they must accurately & thoughtfully assess each situation. Have them recognize that, though they have a strong opinion on one end of the spectrum, it’s beneficial to wave the white flag – as it may improve conditions for all involved. Conflict resolution is about making such sacrifices.

Focus on the Present Conflict on Hand

When resolving conflicts, it’s normal to get frustrated with customers; your CSRs may even remember past conflicts they’ve had with either the same customers or customers that were going through the same type of situation(s) – and, these remembrances may feel like the perfect time to bring such past conflicts up within the current situation on hand. The best way to calmly deal with such remembrances is to go on hold when needed so your CSRs can re-group, telling themselves that the present conflict is a new opportunity to make things right; furthermore, rectifying customer conflict is a vital means of ensuring their trust – so, your CSRs can build strong brand loyalty. This is the key to handling conflicts on hand.

Humor Usage When Appropriate

Let’s face it, when blue and/or fuming, humor lightens situations, making things better – however, your CS team(s) must remember that humor is appropriate only in non-personal conflicts; there’s no good in offending customers via jokes on sensitive topics. Have your CSRs consider humor as a tool used for loosening up situations and feeling more comfortable in sensitive discussion; furthermore, have them correctly read customers, using their best judgment to determine whether humor is appreciated. Most often, humor is the medicine needed to turn customer conflict around.

Callnovo’s Customer-centric Outsourcing Solutions for Strong Brand Loyalty Growth

A smiling customer service representative (CSR) deals with a well-known e-commerce brand’s upset customer who is missing her package that should have arrived more than 11 days ago; utilizing the mentioned customer conflict resolution skills & conflict management soft skills, the CSR was able to utilize humor to calm the customer down while he provides a viable solution.

Callnovo Contact Center enhances CS team(s) with customer-centric outsourcing solutions that ensure long-term brand loyalty growth globally in accordance with the above-mentioned conflict resolution skills / conflict management soft skills.

Some key advantages are:

  • High-quality Expertise – quality service via personnel skilled in areas as:
    • strong communication skills,
    • customer service soft-skills,
    • customer-centric enthusiasm/service attitude,
    • intuitive logical thinking skills, and
    • complex knowledge/skills.
  • Always-available Service – maximizing customer satisfaction/CX by continually meeting customers’ needs without limits.
  • Omnichannel Support – accessible, rapid contact solutions through all comm. channels – guaranteeing always-ready support, leading to enhanced CX, influencing long-term customer brand ambassadorship/customer loyalty.
  • Native Language Support – meeting customers’ needs efficiently, conforming to cultural expectations, improving customer loyalty.

Conclusion

To ensure consistent-managing of customer conflict in a way that fortifies renewed, long-term trust/rapport that motivates customers to strong brand value and continual-loyalty, it’s crucial your CSRs put into the practice the above-mentioned conflict resolution & management skills/soft skills. To support your long-term brand loyalty goals, Callnovo offers, in addition to your in-house CS professionals, a customer-centric multilingual, omnichannel outsourcing solution with integrated CS experts to meet customer expectations, improving customer retention, augmenting brand reputation, securing global sales success.

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