Angry customers often raise their voices, make demands and may even insult you. Dealing with angry customers is not very different from dealing with difficult people ’cause after all, difficult customers are usually difficult people in other situations.
Here are ten tips to ensure that angry customers don’t cause lost business or damaged reputations:
1. Respond Promptly and by Phone
Don’t try to work things out by email, which can be misinterpreted and can leave the customer feeling powerless from a faceless transaction. Pick up the phone or set a time to listen to concerns in person.
2. Listen Well
Truly listen, and acknowledge what the customer says. Be nonjudgmental, and don’t let yourself come back with a strong personal reaction. Let the customer work through his or her frustration. The more time a person spends airing their grievances, the more time they have to come down.
3. Empathize and mean it!!
A power struggle just makes the matter worse. Show empathy, and if you’re uncertain what that means in the specific situation, place the customer on “hold” and briefly discuss with someone else on the team. If you still do not know, perhaps you need to take yourself out of “customer service”.
4. Don’t Take It Personally.
I think this is the most important thing to do no matter what! Everything an angry customer says to you is from his or her own perspective. That person’s frustration may or may not be relevant to anything you’ve done. If a customer becomes verbally abusive toward you, don’t escalate it into a ping-pong match of nasty remarks. Instead, you can say “I appreciate your frustration with the situation, but attacking me will not improve anything. I want to help you.”
5. Never Assume!
Don’t assume you did nothing wrong. Show the customer you’re in touch with your organization and in control of whatever happened. Give yourself more time to think/discuss by arranging to call back.
6. Provide Solutions.
Ask the customer what it will take to set things right and evaluate it quickly or place on hold to discuss. Sometimes, figuring out the solution is up to you.
7. No Overpromising…
The only thing worse than doing nothing is promising too much. If you need more time, ask for it.
8. Follow Up.
When relevant, check back in a couple of weeks or a month to make sure the customer is happy with the outcome.
9. Train Your Staff.
Provide the staff with current guidelines for resolving complaints.
10. Learn, Change and Act.
Address the complaint constructively with staff and find ways to head in a positive direction.