When No Means Maybe: 3 Ways to Handle Rejection

Customer service is not easy.  Anyone who has ever worked in retail, a call center, sales, or project management can tell you that customer service can be one of the hardest positions in a company.  It is not easy to satisfy everyone all the time, yet that is what customer service reps are tasked with.  They are in place to resolve a situation that has gone bad.  Indeed, by the time a customer service representative has been brought into the process, things have already gone south.

How are customer service reps supposed to repair a situation, even when they are faced with verbal abuse?  How are they supposed to make things right when the customer is opposing every suggestion?  Here are three ways to handle rejection:

Think Outside the Box

No doesn’t always mean no comprehensively; often, people say no to an idea that they may be willing to negotiate on.  That means that you should try to approach the solution from a different, non-traditional angle.  The next solution you come up with may or may not hit pay dirt, but it will show the customer that you are working hard to satisfy them.  That, in turn, will make them more willing to letting you try.  This give and take is unstated but you’ll know it happened – the tension will start to lift.

Get Help

Sometimes the problem is bigger than you thought.  There is nothing wrong with asking a superior for help if your solutions don’t work out the way you hoped.  Customers will see that you are utilizing every option available to you to solve their problem.  The confidence that will engender in you and in the company will go a long way.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

When we are rejected, we tend to internalize it and turn it into something that festers and eats away at our confidence and self-worth.  After a particularly bad day at work, you might begin to wonder if you can really do the job you were assigned.  You’ll begin to think that someone else is better qualified and that maybe you should just find something else.

This kind of thinking is detrimental to your ability to perform at work.  The first time you get a situation that you can’t satisfy right away, self-doubt will creep in.  If you adopt the mantra of, “Don’t worry, be happy,” you’ll be able to compartmentalize things a bit differently.  Instead of allowing the situation to attack your confidence, you will see it for what it is.  Approaching rejection optimistically will allow you to open yourself to training or mentorship opportunities.

Customer service is hard but not unmanageable.  Once you master it, you will be able to teach others to do so as well.  Looking into other ways of preparing for these inevitable difficult situations, like pursuing a non-profit management degree or participating in troubleshooting roundtables, will help you fill your toolkit.  Your company will thank you for it.