What is the “HEARD” Technique in Customer Service?
There are many tips and tricks you can learn when working in customer service that can make your job much easier, more streamlined, and more efficient. Many of these techniques can come into play on a daily basis, but others can be especially important when dealing with upset or difficult customers.
One of these techniques when dealing with an upset customer is the HEARD technique. This stands for hear, empathize, apologize, resolve, and diagnose. These five words are your guide in how to quickly resolve a tense situation with an upset customer, no matter what the root cause of the issue may be.
H – Hear
This is the first and most important step. You need to hear and understand the issue at hand. If a customer calls you expressing their anger in a service or product, listen intently and let them know they are being heard.
You understand their problem, you have heard their details, and are now fully equipped to start figuring out a resolution to this problem. Hearing the problem is your first step in reaching a resolution everyone can appreciate.
E – Empathize
Once you have heard what the problem is, you need to empathize with the customer. Reassuring the customer that you completely understand their frustration and why they are upset is important. Put yourself in their shoes and think about how you might feel in the same situation.
Maybe the customer feels slighted or ignored, maybe they have had the same problem repeatedly. This can all add up and become very frustrating and upsetting for someone. Empathizing with the customer and fully understanding why they are angry is very important.
A – Apologize
Even if the problem was not due to something you did, you are representing the company that the customer is upset with. In this case, be sure to apologize for the problem and accept responsibility on behalf of your employer. Apologies can go a long way in defusing a tense situation with an angry customer.
R – Resolve
A resolution is the main reason the customer called, and reaching a resolution they appreciate may sometimes be the only way to finish the call and move on to your next task. In some cases, you may have to discuss resolutions with your supervisor or other team members, and in others you can reach a resolution on your own.
If you are unable to reach a resolution on your own, be open with the customer about this. Let them know you will take their issue to your supervisor immediately and follow-up with them in a later call.
D – Diagnose
Once a resolution has been met that the customer is happy with, it’s time to diagnose the problem and ensure it does not happen again. If this is an issue with your company, or how certain tasks are carried out, it may be worth mentioning to your supervisor or filing an internal complaint to prevent the issue from happening again.