Angry customers are unavoidable, but you can’t let them affect your company’s mission. You have to resolve that you are bound to get an angry customer on occasion and simply learn how to deal with them. You can’t assume that their behavior is just their problem and their fault, but you also can’t assume that their anger is your company’s fault.
It may be a combination of poor service, a faulty product or simply that the product or service didn’t serve this particular customer’s needs well. Remaining professional, turning a challenge into an opportunity and showing empathy are the best ways to handle your angry customer’s behavior. Here are some tips on how to speak to your unhappy customers.
The first step to resolution is showing your customer you are listening and hearing their concern. Being an active listener is means that you not only listen to your customer, but you can repeat back what they are trying to convey and offer helpful feedback to their concerns. Start the dialogue by stating that you’d like to go over what happened or asking them why they feel upset.
It lets your customer know you are ready to listen. Be sure to avoid trying to solve the situation immediately or jumping to conclusions. You should instead let your customer tell the whole story and don’t spend it preparing for what you are going to respond with. Active listening is actually listening and then reacting. Don’t allow for interruptions in the conversation.
Follow the active listening model by repeating their concerns back to them. You’ll show your customer you were giving all of your attention by being able to repeat back what their concerns were. This is the time to ask questions to identify the problem. Be calm and objective, and you’ll notice that repeating what they’ve said will calm them down and decrease their stress and anger levels.
It’s always important to show you have empathy for your customer’s situation and to apologize. Your body language should match your words. Use phrases like “I can see why you’re upset, as I would be too.” Offer a solution that will correct the problem or ask the customer what would make them happy. Bring in someone higher up if necessary or offer a discount, free product or service, or anything else that would be logical to the initial problem.
Be sure to follow-up with the customer and take the action you promised to take. Keep in mind that you can’t win them all. Some customers are always looking for a handout or always have something to complain about. Others think that they are too much of a VIP and believe they should be given the best possible service over other customers.
Some customers are the opposite in that they are too shy to explain their problems. With these customers, you may have to pull the issue out of them. No matter what type of angry customer you are dealing with, the fact that your customers are angry is all that matters. You need to calm their anger down, be a good listener, offer solutions and then follow through.
Speak to angry customers with a firm politeness and matching body language, an empathetic tone and a sincere relate-ability so that your customers go from angry to feeling satisfied. Be sure to use their first name when dealing with them, smile when you talk, and study each customer for what works best in resolving the situation peacefully.