Handling inappropriate remarks from customers
TLDR: A customer made a racist comment to one of my CSMs and I'd like to build a policy/escalation flow to help ease the burden on employees if/when this happens again.
I had an incident yesterday where a customer made an insensitive and racist comment directed at one of my CSMs on a call.
I handled it by first talking with my teammate and then calling the customer to discuss why the comment was inappropriate. (Fortunately the call was recorded, so I was able to quote back to him verbatim). The customer ultimately sent a half-hearted apology to my teammate and apologized to me on the phone about it. I followed back up with my teammate to see if there's any additional action he would like us to take with the customer, and I also escalated to our CEO who is following up with my CSM today.
But, it got me thinking.... this is the first time I've had to have this sort of conversation with a customer. I did a quick google search for best practices, but I'd love to hear from the community what processes and policies you have in place around these types of situations.
We're thinking something like:
- Incident happens, remove yourself from the situation (would love any tips to help people with this)
- Escalate immediately to your manager.
- Manager reached out to customer to address situation. (any resources or advice on having these conversations would be welcome)
- If customer apologizes and learns from the experience, come to a resolution.
- If customer does not apologize or doubles down on their racism/sexism/etc. escalate to their boss/head of HR/CEO (depending on the size of company and the resources they have - for example, in this case it was a small company and their Vice-President made the comment, so the President of the company would have been an appropriate escalation point).
- If the company refuses to resolve the issue appropriately, sever relationship with customer.
I'd love to know what policies others have in place and any advice you have on how to handle these conversations. We want to stand behind our employees 100% and make these situations as little work for them to handle as possible since they've already been through enough.
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