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Bomb Squad: 5 Tips for Defusing Upset Staffing Clients

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A placement just blew up in your face and now you have an irate client.

A really, really angry one.

Upset staffing clients are, unfortunately, a fact of life in business. Whether it was due to an error on your staffing firm’s part, or you’re entirely blameless, one thing’s clear: you need to defuse the situation immediately.

You don’t have a second to waste. These shareworthy service ideas will help your company’s “bomb squad” turn that angry customer around:

  1. Give your client the benefit of the doubt. One of the best ways to neutralize a customer’s ire is by assuming that he has the right to be angry. So until you have all of the details, give him the benefit of the doubt. You can evaluate the legitimacy of his complaint once he’s explained it.
  2. Allow him to vent. Sometimes, just listening while a customer airs his complaint makes him feel better. Give him the stage for a bit. Once he’s had a chance to speak, ask follow-up questions to make sure you understand exactly what happened. As he continues to “let off steam,” pay attention to his emotions to help identify the real cause of his concern.
  3. Don’t take it personally! Although he may not say it, your customer is upset with the situation – not you. Leave your emotions out of it and remain calm. If he’s yelling or rude, staying neutral and speaking in a calm manner will help deescalate tensions more quickly.
  4. Apologize correctly – regardless of whether or not the client’s claim has merit (I know, this can be a tough pill to swallow). Make sure your team is trained to apologize gracefully and professionally, so they don’t further irritate an already upset client.
  5. Put your service recovery process into motion. Once you understand the client’s grievance, tell him that you take his complaint seriously and that you want to make it right. Turn a mistake into an opportunity with these service recovery tips.

Once the dust has settled, give everyone involved a well deserved pat on the back. Successfully defusing upset staffing clients is a stressful experience, so celebrate your accomplishment!

Outstanding service recovery can be what separates your staffing or recruiting firm from the rest of the pack. Listening empathetically and solving customers’ problems creates word-of-mouth advertising that’s exponentially more effective than traditional forms.  So train and empower your company’s “bomb squad.” You’ll turn angry customers into your biggest fans.

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