Dealing with angry customers will no doubt test your professional maturity. As a thoughtful leader in your field you must rise above the emotions exhibited during any conflict.
The good news is that anyone can quickly learn how to diffuse a potentially volatile situation, effectively turning a potentially volatile situation into a positive interaction.
Your ability to LISTEN to your customer will give you the insight you need to be able to empathize with their situation and determine the proper course of action.
Most importantly, listen and remain calm. Taking deep breaths as you remind yourself of what's truly important will serve you well! Good air in, bad air out. :-)
Bottom line, if you become argumentative it will only enflame the customer and the entire situation can quickly spiral out of control.
Being listened to is sometimes all that an angry client is looking for, and all that is needed to make the customer feel whole again. In many cases dealing with angry customers simply means "listening to them".
Remember, it's not so important that you uncover for the customer exactly what went wrong. The past is truly the past, and neither you nor the customer can change it.
It's much more important to the angry customer that you understand what needs to be done to fix the issue and that you are personally committed to ensuring the situation is resolved in a timely manner. The customer seeks validation - that his issue is serious and has merit. Whether you agree with him or not, you can emphasize that you understand the issue is important to the customer.
Your automatic response when dealing with angry customers - in fact, your instinctive script, upon hearing the customers complaint should be:
Keep in mind that by saying these eight little words, it does not necessarily mean that you personally will fix the issue or that you even agree with the complaint. It does mean, however, that you empathize with the customer, you understand his concern and you will help him by either calling someone who can resolve the issue, or have another expert quickly contact them who will be able to help the customer.
If it's impossible to correct the problem at that moment then you have a wonderful opportunity to shine in the eyes of the customer. Quickly take ownership and let the client know what you will do to help ensure that he does not have the same experience again in the future.
If it's going to take some time because you need to research the issue, don't make the customer wait. In dealing with angry customers, you must be respectful of their time. Let the customer know that you will call them by end of day and will give them an update to your progress.
Provide progress reports regularly until the issue is resolved. By communicating regularly, your customer will feel at ease that you are taking the issue seriously and that you are working hard to resolve the matter. Even if you can't resolve the issue, the customer will at least feel validation as evidenced by your hard work.
Customers appreciate regular updates and they will be much more understanding should it take more time that originally expected to fix the problem.
Make sure the customer has your direct line and/or has the ability to easily contact you should they have a need to do so.
No doubt about it, dealing with angry customers will always be the most difficult aspect of your day. However, if you do it right, you can turn it around and be the hero.
However, if you miss the opportunity to serve the customer, someone higher in the organization will hear about it and come to you asking what happened.
Remember your instinctive response! You can always say, "Mr. Customer, I can help you with that." Sounds nice, feels good, right?
"I can help you with that." Ah, makes a person tingle all over, doesn't it?
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