BEP 53 – Customer Service: Handling Complaints 1: Empathizing

Good customer service is essential to success in any industry, but it is particularly important in the service and hospitality sector. “Hospitality” means treating guests well; and here, we’re talking specifically about hotels. Because service is so vital to hospitality, hotels are a good place to look for excellent service practices.

So today we’ll be listening in on a phone call from an angry customer at the Majestic, a five-star hotel in Shanghai. By listening to a bad example and a good example of service practice, we’ll be studying skills that are useful in any industry, no matter whether you are dealing with internal or external customers.

We’ll see that a very important part of handling angry customers is showing empathy: Empathy is similar to sympathy – it means showing that you understand the customer’s pain.

Listening Questions

Bad Example:
1) How does the customer, Steve, learn the service associate’s name?
2) What is Steve’s problem?
3) How could Jenna have handled the complaint better?

Good Example:
1) When Steve says, “I’m at the end of my rope,” what does he mean?
2) What does Sandy do to calm Steve down?

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BEP 23 – Telephoning: Handling a Difficult Customer

A new version of this lesson is available here: BEP 23c – Telephone English: Getting Action

In a recent Business English Podcast (BEP 22), we looked at how to deal with technical problems when speaking on the telephone in English. Today, we’re going to talk how to deal with problems with the caller, which are of course much harder to handle! But, with the proper language and phrases, you can show the caller that you want to help, and reassure them that you can help solve the problem.

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