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Dealing with questions angry customers ask can be difficult. Welcome to our 3-part series to address how to navigate a difficult customer situation and turn what could have been a negative into a positive outcome for both the customer and the business.
Not knowing exactly what to say or how to handle the situation effectively is a common fear. Imagine, you're at work, you're having your morning coffee, some casual conversation with co-workers - it's a good start to the day. Then suddenly, there he is - the angry customer!
For some unknown reason the product the customer recently purchased is not working as described and now he is at his wits end because this malfunction is going to cost him both considerable time and money. He states emphatically that he wants to speak to the manager, who doesn't happen to be on site at the moment. When you calmly let the customer know the manager is not currently available, the customer's exhibits an increased sense of frustration.
How you decide to handle this situation can truly be a career-altering decision if you don't get it right. It's now up to you to represent the business and attempt to work through the process of addressing the customer's issue.
So, what's the probable outcome? Is the customer going to leave angrier and more frustrated, then complain everyone he knows how bad the company is, and how incompetent the employees are? Or, will you be prepared to effectively handle the situation, and virtually any questions angry customers might ask in the future?
Will this angry customer leave your place of business feeling appreciated and understood? Is he so impressed with your professionalism and ability to resolve the issue quickly that he sings your praises to his family, friends and throughout the community?
"Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning."
- Bill Gates
Ultimately, the final resolution will be determined based on your understanding and personal commitment to delivering quality Customer Service - at every opportunity, no matter how difficult a customer may be. This includes having the skill-set to properly respond to the various kinds of loaded questions angry customers may ask you.
The following three-part series will help guide you through those difficult situations where your customer service abilities, and your patience, will be tested.
So what exactly are the kinds of questions angry customers might throw out at you in the heat of the moment? While the list is endless and based on any number of scenario, here are some common questions you might hear coming from an irate customer:
The irate customer may be shouting - some will be using offensive language - all will be incredibly frustrated.
An important point to remember at that critical moment is that the customer is not actually angry with you personally. It may really seem like they are - but they're not.
The customer is experiencing many emotions. He feels disrespected and perceives that no one is listening to him. He feels insecure and helpless to remedy the situation on his own and believes at that moment no one cares about his personal experience. He feels as if he has no control, which only adds to his frustration. The customer's anger is the result of all these negative emotions he is feeling.
Also, it's important to understand you have no insight into what other things might be going on in his life. The customer may be dealing with other difficult situations personal or professional that are not directly related to the situation at hand - and that may be adding fuel to the fire.
So, take solace in know that the questions angry customers may throw at you may be inspired by events totally unrelated to what the customer currently appears upset about. They may be upset with their spouse, employer or whomever - and what happened with your organization was the final straw that broke the camel's back.
So what you do? First, remain calm. Do not argue with the customer. It will accomplish absolutely nothing. The customer is feeling injured and the pain inflicted is incredibly real to him. Any argument from you will just cement those feelings and provide him with a name and face to attach directly to his drama.
- Marilyn Suttle
Look back at our examples of common questions angry customers ask. Your professional strategy on responding to difficult customers should be effective regardless of the angry question a customer may pose.
Your ability to be an empathetic listener, allowing the customer to vent his frustrations without getting into an argument with him is a great first step. Allow the customer the opportunity to vent, do not interrupt him - just let him get it out and do not take it personally. Make sure he knows you are listening by maintaining good eye contact. You might nod your head up and down just to let him know you are listening closely. (This does not mean you approve of what he is saying.)
Your focus on connecting with the client will better allow you to work to resolve
the issue and give you the best chance of ultimately winning him over.
Heated questions angry customers ask can be scary if you are not well prepared in advance. By anticipating these questions beforehand and effectively preparing yourself on how best to respond will greatly diminish any fears you might currently have.
See you in Part 2 of this series as we take a deeper dive into how best to respond to angry customers.