By Colin Wilson
Key Business Advisors Director
When a customer is angry, frustrated and demanding immediate action, it is extremely important that you follow a process to de-fuse the situation. It takes patience to calm customers who may yell and threaten to take their business elsewhere – some angry customers may even threaten to sue or demand unrealistic outcomes. You need to prepare for such challenges so that you can always deliver outstanding customer service.
Below are five steps to converting difficult or even angry customers into happy customers and to ensure the best possible outcomes for your customers and your business:
1. Manage your emotions, be silent and listen intently as the customer communicates their issue.
The way you manage your emotions when dealing with an angry customer will often determine whether the customer remains with your business or goes to your competitors. Do not rush the customer or interrupt to end their complaint. Take notes to show the customer that you care about resolving their issue.
2. Acknowledge and sympathise with the customer to make them feel important.
Speak slowly to calm down the customer. Repeat what the customer said after they finish stating their complaint, and get confirmation from them that you understand their issue. Never blame your company, another staff member, or your supplier.
3. Explain in simple terms what you are going to do for the customer.
Customers want you to be honest, prioritise their issue and present a solution to address it. Show the customer that you are taking control to support them. Customers are looking for someone they can trust and may become angrier if you show uncertainty and lack of confidence. Explain the resolution process and the likely outcomes. Offer a range of options that the customers can choose from to fix the problem. Do not make promises you cannot keep – always overestimate the time it would take to resolve the issue so that you exceed the customer’s expectations. Offer the customer some tea or coffee while they wait for an outcome.
4. Offer to follow up with the customer.
Inform the customer that you will follow up with them to ensure that commitments have been met and they are happy with the way their issue was handled. Your goal: exceed the customer’s expectations! Do not promise and under-deliver as this will undo all the hard work and make the customer lose confidence in you!
5. Thank the customer for bringing the issue to your attention and allowing you to resolve it.
Remember, angry customers are looking for someone who wants to listen to their complaint and help them get a positive outcome. In most cases, customer complaints which are resolved result in more sales opportunities through cross-selling or upselling – 75% of customers will return to buy from you if they were satisfied with how you resolved their issue.
Download our guide on How to Turn Customers from Angry to Happy for a handy reference that you can print and distribute to your staff.