Angry customers don’t always follow the stereotypical behaviors of a raised voice, shouting, blaming you for the situation or demanding more than is reasonable. In fact, these are the easy ones to deal with as they will always calm down eventually. We may even have been an angry customer ourselves once or twice; I know I have. But wait, I know of some customers who use complaints as a way of getting discounts or credits. Others just want someone to vent their anger on.
Picture this, one of Kendesk’s most important customer walks into the office unannounced. The customer service rep stands up with a smile ready to greet the customer, when he explodes into an angry tirade because Kendesk failed to make a delivery on time. The Customer service rep does her best to reason with the customer, but nothing she says helps the situation. The customer only gets angrier, shouting accusations and spiraling further into a rage. Within a few minutes, he walks out, vowing never to use the company’s services again.
A good way to make sure that you know exactly what the problem is, is to use calm and collected wording like,” I understand that you are upset, and rightly so, that the delivery came an hour late to your house”.
Many of us have had to deal with angry or unhappy customers as part of our roles, and it’s never easy. But if we know what to say, and most importantly how to say it, we may be able to save the situation, In fact we can even end up with a better relationship with our client than we had before.
We all have our own strategies for dealing with angry customers. But here are some of the ways that can help you deal with those angry customers.
An angry customer generally wants someone to vent their anger to, you are that person. When you listen to them, listen for the answers to these questions: What happened to make them upset? What do they want? What can you do to help?
Allow the client to express their opinions
Allow them to communicate their feelings however they choose to without passing judgement. Step in only if the client becomes directly abusive towards you.
Maintain your personal integrity at all times
Never use sarcasm or obviously fake politeness. Behaving in such a way will only fuel the customer’s rage and will make the situation a whole lot worse. If the customer is abusive, calmly interject something to the effect of “I appreciate your frustration with the situation however attacking me will not improve anything, I would like to help you,
Be sympathetic and be empathetic
Recognize the customer’s feelings about the mistakes and where appropriate, show empathy. This shows that you feel the same way as the customer and truly understand their feelings.
Ask them about the facts and details of the matter at hand after they have finished narrating their story.
Offer to try to fix the problem
Never promise to fully solve the issue right then but rather promise to try. If you make an attempt and fail, it will create further issues if you promised total resolution.
Apologize when appropriate
Apologies can often be interpreted as an admittance of guilt. Use a direct apology like “ I apologize we did not send your order on time” or a blameless apology “I apologize for the fact that you are frustrated, let’s see if we can turn this around”.
Confirm that the solution works
Make sure that the customer understands what has been done at the end of the call.
Write a clear, concise log of the incident and use the feedback
Keep a point-form log of anything that may assist someone else who deals with such a customer in the future.
If your client has sent you a difficult email or they are angry with you over the phone, then offer to meet them in purpose if you can address the problem. This will not only diffuse anger but also show that you genuinely want to address and fix the situation.
If you feel lie like client is being unreasonable, you might start to get upset, especially if they are criticizing you or your organization unfairly. Learn anger management skills so that you can stay calm in these situations.