Customer service issues are part and parcel of doing business but how you handle them is even more important. Joseph Anozie, our Contact Center & Telesales Manager shares tips for dealing with an irate or angry customer.
Customers are at the core of the universe for every business or service provider which has given rise to the saying that the Customer is King. Customers can get rude or angry for a variety of reasons – some justified, some not. The chances that as a business you will encounter rude or angry individuals at one point or the other remains a concern. .
How you respond can make the difference between a customer who feels satisfied with the resolution and one who vows never to patronize your business again —some might even go as far as spreading negativity about your business.
As a results-driven leader, satisfying customer’s needs means that you would have to deal with conflict resolution.
Here are five (5) tips for dealing with irate/angry customers:
- Allow the customer to release the pent-up anger and listen actively
Usually, an Irate customer is calling to vent over an unresolved issue or transaction challenge they have with the organization. At this point, they are not exactly ready to reason with you because they believe they have been a. patient enough, b. taken for a fool, and c. left out of the loop.
My advice here?? Just listen and while doing that, let them know that you are listening and paying attention to them.
- Sympathize and Apologize Gracefully
After the customer vents, express sympathy for their unpleasant experience. Respect and understanding go a long way towards smoothing things over. Always put yourself in the customers’ shoes and let them understand that you sincerely sympathize with them. Whether the customer’s complaint is legitimate or not is really irrelevant.
A simple, empathetic statement is often all that’s needed: “I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused and I can imagine the amount of stress you must have been put through. I would be angry if I were in your shoes as well.”
- Understand the customers’ needs
Figure out what made their experience painful. For every reaction, there is a cause. You might want to ask yourself – did we miss the customers’ specification, did we give them the wrong item, did he overpay for the wrong item, etc. All these questions would point you to the cause of the issue which will in turn help with a resolution.
- Gather information about the problem, so you can gain insight about the issue
Once you help the customer uncover the reasons behind their emotions and defuse the situation, try the mind’s eye tactic to help the customer start to think about how the situation can and will get better. Ask their input on how they would like to be treated better; this can serve as feedback and a means to also improve your organizations’ services as well.
A straightforward example is: “May I know how/when you would like ….”
- Proffer a viable solution and follow up to ensure the issue is resolved to the customers’ satisfaction.
After finding out all the necessary cause of the issue, then you can either:
- point them in the right direction
- proffer a solution
Having provided a viable solution, be sure to follow-up with them to make sure that they are satisfied and that their concerns have been fully addressed.
These tips would not be effective if you do not have good communication skills which involve two critical forms – listening and speaking.
Overall, difficult, or even angry customers are not expressing frustration with you. These emotions are tied to external situations and psychological stimuli. So, put your great communication skills to work, draw on your superpower of reading the situation, and use these five psychological tips for managing difficult customers to save your customer from churning.