Every company has, at least one time, had a dissatisfied customer. Even if you want to avoid a customer being dissatisfied at all costs, there are probably few companies that have managed it altogether. What can be positive about an angry customer is that it can be a chance to learn.
The most important thing, when a customer is angry, is to focus on solving the problem in the most professional way possible. Many times, a dissatisfied customer, who received quick and professional help, can be more satisfied with a company after the incident than before.
So how do you do to deal with angry customers? We have listed 5 things to keep in mind.
1 Keep calm
We all know how it can be when we get angry sometimes. You get frustrated, talk faster, raise your voice and sometimes you say things you might not really mean.
When you deal with an angry customer, you will gain nothing to counteract the same tone. Although it can sometimes be difficult not to get carried away when a customer is unpleasant, you have to try to keep calm. If you are nice and calm then the chances are much greater that the customer will be that, too. If you can speak objectively, it is also easier to define the problem and solve it.
2 Accept responsibility
No one intentionally makes mistakes, but no one is infallible either. When the customer declares their displeasure, make sure to listen carefully. Do not interrupt or assume that you already know what the complaint is. It is important that the customer feels heard, while explaining. Repeat what the customer said to reinforce the feeling for the customer that you really listened. Avoid being defensive or making excuses.
Many companies, that are known for their fantastic customer service, often live by the slogan “the customer is always right”. And even though customers have sometimes misunderstood things, they are always right in how they feel. So regardless of whether the customer is objectively right in their complaint or not, it is important that the company takes responsibility for finding a solution.
3 Reciprocate the customer’s concerns and ask questions
Keeping calm is one thing, being uninterested and apathetic is another. By reciprocating the customer’s concerns, the customer feels heard and you take the problem seriously. This can be a somewhat difficult balancing act, and it is important not to just get stuck with focusing on feelings and guilt. A polite and factual tone usually does the trick.
Make sure to ask questions. The absolute fastest way to find a solution that the customer is satisfied with, is to make sure that you really understand the problem.
4 Focus on the goal – solving the problem
Managing an angry customer can often be demanding and it is often hard to deal with the criticism. Try to stay focused on the right thing, namely to solve the problem. If a customer acts up, it may be good to reinforce the goal. Something like “I understand what you mean, let’s find a solution that you are happy with”.
If possible, give the customer alternatives. It gives the customer a chance to feel that he or she is in control of the situation, which in turn can lead to less frustration.
5 Follow up
When you have had contact with an angry customer, it is good to follow up, if possible. Managing an angry customer is never fun, but it can lead to important lessons. Discuss it internally, what was the problem and how was it resolved (if a solution was possible)? Is there anything in the product or service that can be changed to avoid the same situation again?
If you have the opportunity to follow it up with the customer, there can be a lot to gain from that too. Call the customer and ask if everything has worked properly after the last contact. Such a follow-up can result in the customer ultimately having a better view of the company now, than before the problem arose.
No company is completely infallible and problems or errors can arise even for the best. But if you have a clear plan for how to handle angry customers, you can turn a negative situation into a positive one.