Reading time: 3 Minutes
Sandra Corcellut, Global Customer Services Director at Regus’ parent company IWG, offers an insight into helping others in difficult situations gleaned from 20 years of experience
Dealing with customer complaints is not the easiest job in the world, but to some it comes naturally. Sandra Corcellut has had an extended experience at IWG, the parent company of Regus, from running centres, to sales and operations positions, to most currently running Customer Service. She has learned a lot about human behaviour in that time.
“I’ve been with Regus and IWG for more than 20 years now. I’ve worked in ten different customer-facing roles in six countries,” says Corcellut. Now based in Paris, she works directly with the Chief Customer Officer and Group CEO on the processes, policies and systems for the group’s 200 customer-service agents.
“I don’t have a typical day. It can range from helping the teams on the front line to supporting the back office helpdesk, to being on the phone with a customer one on one” says Corcellut. “I love to find win-win solutions, which are key in this position – I’ve learned a lot about human nature.”
Working in the customer-service industry involves dealing with conflict and negativity, so what lessons has Corcellut learned over time? “My number-one rule is to be honest and transparent at all times,” she says. “It’s very important for customers to feel that. I always listen to the issue and then explain what’s going to happen and what the next steps are – I’m crystal clear about the whole situation. It’s when we don’t abide by this that we come up against confusion and disappointment.”
Corcellut’s second piece of advice is to not take anything personally. “Customers can get angry and irate but I never take anything to heart,” she says. “I remember it’s a job and that I’m trying to resolve a problem and find a solution.” As part of their training, Corcellut advises customer-service agents to not rely solely on email and encourages them to call the customer. “More that 50% of the job is about listening,” she explains. “Calling shows a desire to want to resolve the problem. All customers who complain want to be heard. I’ve never seen anything that we can’t resolve.”
Another rule that Corcellut applies in her role is to always do your best. “I take the time to read everything,” she says. “If a customer complains, you need to investigate the situation fully. Don’t make assumptions – this is critical – you can’t make the right decision unless you’ve investigated the issue thoroughly. I’m like that in real life, too. I’ve never really liked conflict and I’ve always tried to understand what it is that makes people angry, because it’s not a natural state. Angry customers just want to be listened to, so if you show them that you’ve investigated a situation, they feel heard. There’s nothing worse than receiving a templated email making you feel like nobody is listening.”
Dealing with conflict on a day-to-day basis can be difficult, but it’s about understanding human nature. “My fourth lesson is to never let your emotions take over,” says Corcellut. “Don’t show that you’re upset or irritated, it won’t help the situation. It’s not about you or your emotions, it’s about resolving a situation. And, finally, never ever ignore a complaint. Silence is the worst thing you can do, it will always come back to haunt you.”
While this is the framework Corcellut uses in her job, the rules apply to all aspects of life. As this article suggests, clear communication is key.
Find out more about Regus work solutions