11 steps to deal with angry customers
11 steps to deal with angry customers
Dramatic reviews? Spiteful ladies with unreachable needs? Dealing with angry, emotionally packed customers is an art, which requires the suppression of many natural reactions. It’s a difficult challenge but when accepted, it can bring a lot of experience and growth to your customer support team.
The most important rule we all know and forget is not to fight. Not because the customer is always right, and you have to pretend to be wrong. But because anger is very infectious. It transfers faster than a yawn. So the first thing you have to do when a grumpy tone enters your ear is to reflect on your inside and calm down. Because as contradictory as it may seem, a calm tone will make your client more relaxed too. But watch the trap: at first, it may seem difficult and result in a cold, detached tone reminding of a humanoid. This is not a solution since to change the emotion you need a different emotion.
How to become a real boy, again?
When attacked we tend to fight back or to accept our fate. However, neither of these ways are good for your company: fighting can cause your customers leave, while agreeing to all their demands is impossible. And here a poor customer service resprezentative is left with a difficult task, Many of them just choose to follow the script and try not to sound irritated. But is this really the best customer service we are talking about? In most of the cases the agry customer will feel ignored. No, we are talking about zen master way to deal with this situation. And the real secret is staying human. After all, the biggest dream of Pinocchio was to become a real boy. There must be something in it, right? But how to maintain your humanlike position, when someone is attacking you, and you cannot fight back? Realize that there is nothing to fight back for. The customers are not angry about you, no matter that they may send some nasty words to your address. They are only angry about your company’s business. The focus on this will help you not to forget the main goal – to HELP these customers.
Befriend and you will win
What is the main aim of this situation again? Not to win an argument. Not to prove the point that your company is right (it’s the job of the lawyers and they are payed more than you). It’s to try providing the customer with what he or she needs. Not always easy or possible, but even the attempt to do it will start to convert the anger to content.
Every anger, big or small
Never say to your customer that there is nothing to worry about. Even if he or she acts way too dramatic, remember that everyone has reasons to be angry. Human beings are fast to rationalize emotions, especially negative ones. Be sure to give space to your customers’ storms, because for them it is a big deal. Not belittling feelings will cause less frustration.
No defense is the greatest defense
Even if the art of war would laugh out of thi statement, masters of calm claps for it. There is a deep tension between your personal and professional needs in situations like this. You have to manage inner peace while not ignoring the goal. In critical situations, don’t try to defend yourself with the rules of the company. Just listen to all the customer’s story. Do not give completely true reasons, do not make valid defenses. Just stay there with a sympathetic aura. If you feel that there is a need, you can gracefully apologize too. People appreaceate apologies.
Ask, don’t assume
In a situation where you know much more than a customer, resist the need to play the omniscient God. Do not assume that they didn’t do something or did it badly. Because you don’t want to hear that they did even that and much, much MUCH more. Instead, show your cleverness masked in questions. Sometimes customers already tried all the options, and know almost as much as you.
Let’s make it clear
As silly as it may sound, a rephrasing of the problem is a valid step into solving it. Put their concern in different words to show that you understood it good.
How to make someone happy?
We’ve all learned this question because the solution is the question itself. Ask. As soon as you realize the real problem, the first, a lot of mastery requiring step, is to ask what your customers expect. We know it is tricky. But instead of presenting a bunch of possible options that they can just swipe to the garbage, it’s clever to find their imaginary scenarios first.
Here’s what we can offer
Once they told you about the suitable solutions, turn them into a possible option or two. What a customer needs to hear is that the situation can be manageable. Even if the outcome is not perfect, giving different choices about how to move forward with the problem can significantly improve customers’ satisfaction. At the time when you have to say “no” to his offer, focus more on the client’s goal, not the “no”.
After the agreed solution is put into action (as fast as possible preferably), it’s best to follow up with email or a phone call to see if the resolution is satisfactory. The email can walk “the extra mile” in showing that the customer is valued. It can eventually turn the angry customer into a satisfied one.
The path is not short and easy. After the problem has been resolved, take some time to reset yourself.