Custom Service 101—How to Deal With Declined Cards Without Upsetting Your Customers

With the summer heat bearing down on us, patience is thin and tempers are short. We all know the holiday shopping is often a customer service nightmare, but the hottest days of the year are also prime time for tense and angry customers. As you and your team work through these dog days of summer, you will face even more customer relations challenges. While you will face everything from the “Nothing You Can Do Will Make ME Happy!” customer to the “Why Are You Not a Mind Reader?” customer, one inevitable situation will challenge you and your employees like no other: The Declined Credit Card Customer. And when you accept credit cards, this will inevitably happen.

Let’s face it…no one ever wants to be in the position to have their credit or debit card declined.  Whatever the circumstances, a declined card is an embarrassing situation. How you or your employees handle this situation, however, can either escalate the customer’s frustrations, or leave them feeling grateful for your tact and compassion. To prepare for this situation, you first need to make sure your employees are fully trained on the credit processing solutions you have in place, and the technology. Many times, customers do not believe their cards are declined, and will first question that the employee processed it properly. Your team needs to be able to show and articulate to the customer how they know the card was truly declined. Employees who seem unsure only further incite these frustrated customers.

Most importantly, your business needs guidelines on how to handle these situations. For example, address the customer quietly and discreetly, without making it seem like a big deal. Next, ask for other payment options to salvage the transaction. Third, some customers feel the need to resolve the issue immediately, and will hop on their cell phones to their banks. If this happens, employees need to know how to suspend the transaction, and politely direct the customer to another area so other customers can be helped. If a customer becomes irate, your employees should have guidelines on what to do next. Finally, know what to do if the customer has to walk out empty handed. Most embarrassed customers want to make a quick exit at this point, so offering to put up the merchandise is a good way to show that you value their business no matter the circumstances. Above all else, courtesy and patience are your best tools for turning a bad experience into a better one.

Remember, as your trusty provider of premium merchant account solutions, AVPS is here to help you get through this tough season. Let us know how we can help make your credit card processing work for your business.

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