You’ve done everything you can to ensure your customers stay happy. You have a gorgeous, user-friendly website, and you’ve made the purchasing process as easy as possible. You keep your tone friendly and engaging across every page, and you try to use accurate information as much as possible. You even invite your customers to contact you with any questions or concerns.
You also use social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook to communicate with your clientele, and everyone seems happy with the product or service you provide.
However, eventually you’ll get an angry comment through social media or your website. Don’t panic when that happens-after all, you can’t please everyone. But you shouldn’t ignore the comment either. Address it directly so your angry customer doesn’t make more people angry or alienate potential customers.
If you want to learn how to deal with angry customers, use the tips below as a starting point.
1. Listen to Everything the Person Has to Say
When most angry customers call you, they simply need to vent their frustration. They feel like you owe them something, even if that something means a yelling session. So, if you receive angry phone calls, emails, or Facebook messages, give the speaker or writer plenty of opportunity to express himself or herself. Do not interrupt. And if you feel the person hasn’t finished, ask questions for clarification.
Only once a customer has fully explained his or her frustration can you expect him or her to listen to your explanations, apologies, and suggestions for resolution.
2. Do Not Respond from a Place of Anger or Defensiveness — React Calmly
You sell products or services that came from your creativity, so you may feel that an attack on your offerings means an attack on you. But don’t take angry feedback personally. The customer had a bad experience with what you provided, not with you. So once the person starts yelling, take a deep breath, close your eyes, and count until you feel calm.
Again, don’t try to explain anything right away. You will sound defensive, and the customer may take the defensiveness as an attempt to dodge the problem. You will only make him or her angrier with this strategy. Instead, repeat what the customer said to make sure you understand it, and don’t tell your side of the story until the other speaker feels calm enough to listen.
3. Do Not Disagree with the Customer If You Can Help It
You’ve probably heard other business people say “the customer is always right.” That adage applies here. You must always assume the customer has a right to feel angry. Perhaps the individual product you gave him or her had a rare flaw. Or maybe something happened to the item during shipment.
In any case, never tell the customer that he or she is wrong about anything. You may lead them to that conclusion, but not say it.
4. Apologize — Even If You Didn’t Cause a Problem
You probably didn’t do anything to merit an angry call, but you still have to apologize for what happened or the customer will think that you’re trying to avoid responsibility. You’ll look less professional in that instance. Say “I’m sorry for [state the problem], and I will do what I can to fix it,” and move on to other steps on this list.
5. Do Not Use Passive Language — Take Responsibility for What Happened
Many business people will say “I am sorry you have been inconvenienced” to mitigate their responsibility for the situation. But don’t use passive language! If you want to come off as firm, professional, and dependable, you say this instead: “I apologize for what happened. I did not know my (product/service) had a flaw, otherwise I would not have delivered it to you.”
As long as you use active voice and take responsibility for what happened, the customer will feel pacified and more willing to work with you.
6. Express Compassion for the Person’s Feelings
Stay understanding throughout the process. Say that you empathize with the person’s position, and state that you would feel similar in the same situation. If you express small niceties like this, you show your customer that you have made an effort to understand his or her circumstances.
7. Ask the Person What He or She Wants as a Solution
Before you outline your own solution, ask the other person what he or she would like you to do to rectify the problem. If he or she suggests something fair and reasonable, then use that solution.
8. Suggest Your Own Solution
If your customer does not give you a fair solution, suggest a compromise. Explain your desired changes until you and the customer work out a resolution you both feel happy with.
9. Make up for the Problem with a Card, Deal, or Other Consolation Prize
After you end the phone, social media, or email conversation, follow it up with a consolation prize of some kind. Your customer will feel further pacified if he or she receives a card, as if he or she receives a card, a special deal, a free giveaway, or some other gift.
Angry customers can make you feel stressed and frustrated. Use the tips above so the discussion turns into a constructive experience, not a bad mark on your business’s reputation.