Whether you are in retail, healthcare, corporate sales, or the hospitality industry, you must have encountered an annoyed customer at some point in your job. Though it may be a challenge to deal with an irate customer, the situation can be handled in a smart way that can yield positive results for you and your business. Dealing with the angry customer in a calm, professional, and rational way can help you turn the challenge into an opportunity and retain the customer as well. This blog gives tips on how to interact positively with a discontent customer.
The relevance of a customer complaint
Dealing with a difficult customer must be seen as an opportunity to learn and convert a negative situation into a beneficial customer experience. Your reaction to an angry customer can make or break his perception of your brand. Instead of avoiding an angry customer, you can leverage the situation to enhance his opinion of your product or service and improve your relationship with him. According to market research, having an unhappy customer is better than not having a customer at all. This means that we must look at every complaint as a prospective business opportunity and useful insights for customer service improvement.
Tips to handle angry customers
1. Remain Calm
Conflict is a part of business and how you react under fire impacts future relationships with the customer. When you deal with an angry customer, you may be tempted to use a harsh tone but this may only make the situation worse. It is vital to remain calm and maintain a low voice tone to make the conversation productive. Avoid using aggressive language, use the drafted response and try to give a fresh, positive perspective to the situation.
2. Change your mindset
The success of the interaction with an irate customer will work well only if you do not take his anger personally. You can achieve this by shifting from the mindset of placing blame to one of finding solutions to the problem. You must remember that the customer is not angry with you but is disappointed with the product or service he purchased. If you take the customer’s anger personally, it may worsen the situation and also affect your quality of work.
3. Introduce yourself
To make the interaction cordial, you must tell the customer your name and learn theirs as well. Once you know the customer’s name, use it during the entire conversation. This can make the interaction more personal, and the customer will know that you care personally for them rather than when you address them by a Sir or Ma’am.
4. Learn about the customer you are speaking with
Apart from the knowledge of the subject, it is important to find out the details of the customer you are interacting with, like their age, interests, background that can help you connect with them and ease the interaction process. You can also tailor the conversation to make it fruitful for both parties. While you already have some information about the customer, you can ascertain others through polite questions.
5. Listen actively
Listening keenly may be the most important thing you do during a conversation with an angry customer. By listening actively, you can concentrate on whatever the customer is saying and understand the reason for their displeasure. To show the customer that you are actively listening, ask further questions, paraphrase their complaint, and do not interrupt them. This allows them to express their frustrations and may make them more amenable to working out an amicable solution.
6. Acknowledge their feelings and re-iterate their concerns
While listening, it is important to also show acknowledgment by repeating their concerns back to the customer. By reiterating their concerns, you can also confirm what exactly the problem is and avoid any misunderstanding.
7. Empathize, Sympathize and Apologize
Apologize for the problem the customer is facing. Acknowledge the mistake and let the customer know you are sorry. A sincere apology will show that you care. Respectfully convey that you understand the reason for their frustration and empathize with them. Putting yourself in the frame of mind of the customer may help you craft the best solution. Verbalize your apology, sympathy, and empathy.
8. Offer a solution
Some customers only want to vent their frustration to the customer service staff and only want them to listen while others may expect a solution in the form of a re-do or a refund. The primary goal of handling a difficult customer is to solve their problem. Consider any immediate solutions, workarounds, or things that the customer can do by themselves to fix the issue. Offer the best solution possible, offer to discuss it further, and take the help of the technical team if needed. Set realistic expectations with the customer to inform them of the issue resolution time frame and try to meet them.
9. Follow up
To repair your relationship with the customer, follow up with them in some time to ensure that they are satisfied with the solution you provided. You can communicate via email, a follow-up phone call, or send a gift certificate with a message. It is also crucial to follow up with your team and organization and find out why the unfavorable situation occurred in the first place. You can work with your team to avoid the recurrence of the problem.
10. Use the Feedback
The last step is to diminish the risk of the recurrence of the situation. Use customer feedback to identify the root cause of the problem, the loopholes, and the bottlenecks. Share the knowledge with the team members, product managers, engineers, and designers. This can drive the entire team to collaborate and come up with productive, long-term solutions that can keep customers happy. Ensure that you better manage feedback and complaints in the future so that you can maintain good customer relationships.
The Final Word
Handling difficult customers is difficult but not impossible. You must let your customers vent their frustrations and thereafter handle them with patience, respect, and empathy. If you use the above tips to handle irate customers, you can transform a negative situation into a positive outcome for the customers and the company.