Dealing with angry customers is an integral part of developing your own business. Of course, you’re trying hard to minimize the risk of such an experience, but you’re not a mentalist and sometimes things might get out of control.
It’s because there are several types of customers. Our wild fantasy is to handle only the ones who appreciate our effort. They understand that some problems might appear at any time and once it happens, you’re trying so hard to fix it and provide the best possible customer experience.
Unfortunately, it’s still a utopian vision. Many customers lose their temper easily. According to Statista, their most frequent reaction (71%) is insisting on speaking to the supervisor. They also like to threaten that they’re going to turn towards your competition.
There are also the less talkative ones – they just end the conversation with no words. It’s more striking to imagine that they’re desperately throwing the handset away. However, we live in 2021, so we all know that they hang up by clicking the red button on their smartphone. OK, things got heated, so it’s time to…
Thanks, Tony Montana.
You need to remember that your main job is not to follow the anger, remain calm, and come up with an effective solution. Easier said than done? Not anymore.
In this article, I’m going to present you with the well-checked methods of dealing with angry customers. You’ll get a list of 7 tips that you can use every time you’re in an emergency. This is how you’ll be able to turn customer anger into customer satisfaction.
OK, so let’s start the count!
Table of contents:
- Stay calm
- Give your customer a full attention
- Don’t wait too long with an apology
- Show empathy
- Use your customer’s name
- Offer the best possible solution
- End the call with a class
- That’s it – time to relax
1. Stay calm
All right, let’s explain calmness a little further. While working in customer service you are bound to hear some unpleasant words, what is more, it might happen more often than you expect.
So, let’s juxtapose two potential situations. You receive a call from an angry customer, he starts to shout at you and…
You respond with the same tone of voice. Everybody in the office can hear you screaming. You’re trying to express your opinion aggressively, which only increases the scale of disagreement with your customer. You can barely hear each other, understand each other. Finally, the talk is over, the customer feels frustrated, the word about the poor quality of your service is spread. I can risk the statement that you haven’t only lost this particular customer, but several future ones as well.
You let your customer express his feelings and insist that you can help him only if he calms down a bit. The difference is, you don’t do it loudly but with a firm and kind voice. You are well-prepared, you’ve done some proofreading of potential solutions. This is how you can provide the customer with a constructive response with no curses in place of commas. You’ve learned to suppress bad emotions, and the chances that your customer will appreciate your help are quite high.
So, what do you think? Which one of these two options appeals to you? Not to impose anything, but the second one looks a bit more favorably.
2. Give your customer a full attention
This rule is simple – you have to listen to your customers. I know, there are some days when a lot is going on, but this kind of conversation is a holy moment. Especially when you speak to an angry customer.
You can imagine that when you start a call, the outside world stops existing. Or, at least, it is muted. That’s how you are all ears to your customer’s issues.
How to prove it? There’s one well-checked method. Surprise – it’s nowhere near nodding your head and mumbling. You need to give a bit more. Just repeat the sentences given to you by a customer.
OK, maybe avoid repeating word by word as we’re not parrots. Paraphrasing is a well-working practice. It can turn the whole thing around for your advantage. Expressing your customer’s problem in other words proves that you understand what he means and you’re eager to help him.
The process is simple.
- Forget about all other stuff.
- Let your angry customer explain his concern.
- Do some notes.
- If you have a doubt, ask a question to clarify everything.
- Come up with a solution.
Then, you have a full image of the situation. That’s how you massively increase your chances to solve the issue and calm your customer down.
3. Don’t wait too long with an apology
OK, we have set the tone of your voice and the art of listening. It’s time to focus on the content of the conversation. It’s crucial to swallow your pride and be ready to apologize. And do it sooner than later.
Sometimes your angry customer might be even wrong, but it doesn’t matter. The acceptance of his anger is the way to show your class. And with that, you get the easy way to bring the customer on your side.
Also, don’t rely on the simple “I’m sorry” because this attitude might annoy your customer even more. This kind of response will probably make him think that you don’t really care about his problems.
It’s better to give a bit longer apology with the explanation of the causes of the problem and the effective way to overcome it. At the same time, be careful not to exaggerate with guilt as it may influence your credibility among customers.
To sum it up – be short, concise, and understanding. The rewards will come.
4. Show empathy
This is one of the consequences of listening to your angry customers carefully. If you do it, you’re more likely to put yourself in their shoes. And, with this, you can release the tension at the very beginning of a call.
You present yourself as a person who listens to his caller and respects him. Surely, being empathetic doesn’t mean agreeing with every statement. It’s more about showing that you can relate to their situation on a personal level.
Here are some phrases that work well if you want to be empathetic.
- “I can understand why this new feature might be a bit tricky for you.”
- “We feel sorry that you need to deal with this problem.”
- “You’re right. That’s a frequent problem, but our team is on the verge of fixing it.”
- “Just to make sure that we’re on the same page – you said that [quote]…”
- “Thank you for your patience. Do you have any more questions?”
And so forth. In general, be kind and concerned. This is how you can give yourself a chance to turn your customer’s mood from anger to happiness.
I highly recommend the article in which we say even more about customer empathy.
5. Use your customer’s name
We’ve already concluded that you are fully focused on the conversation with an angry customer. Using his name can only strengthen his impression of being served properly.
So, you can start with a formal language – by that, I mean the Mr./Mrs. and surname. If the conversation goes well, you can even try to ask to switch for a first-name basis.
That’s the added value to customer empathy that we’ve discussed above. The customer feels appreciated when he hears his name in the conversation. It’s not like he’s one of the many, he takes it as a dedicated and professional approach. This is why you shouldn’t hesitate to serve each customer personally.
By the way, you can get your customer’s name and other important information by joining Channels. Providing you with all these details is one of the many features of this data-driven phone system.
The other ones include various types of phone numbers, SMS helpline, Web Call, integrations with other platforms, and more.
6. Offer the best possible solution
An angry customer doesn’t like to hear “There’s nothing we can do.” This kind of response can only add fuel to the fire.
Instead, you should be well-prepared to bring the best possible solution. That’s how the customer is more likely to understand that the inconvenience is an exceptional situation and you’re still doing your best to satisfy him.
Sometimes you may not have the possibility of helping your customer immediately. This is when you can ask him to stay on the line while you’ll be looking for some beneficial option. And if you don’t find anything related specifically to this question, make sure you’ll offer some valuable replacement.
In this case, it’s important to be flexible. Don’t stick to the single response, make sure that you’ll always offer what you possibly can.
7. End the call with a class
The customer isn’t angry anymore. What do you think, Tony?
OK, this character is the exception that proves the rule. You’ve done a terrific job by guiding a calm and efficient conversation. The customer got what he wanted, and even if he didn’t, you made him feel this way.
Now it’s the right time to close the deal. Ask your caller if he’s happy with your service, whether he has any more questions, or generally if you could do anything more for him.
This is how it should be done.
That’s it – time to relax
These were 7 basic tips you need to know if you’re aiming to provide quality customer service. They can work not only to deal with specific angry customers but also to limit such situations in the future.
If you were generally described as a terrible and unhelpful company, the majority of your customers would be angry. However, with these pieces of advice, your customer service can only gain.
So, be ready to hear the customers spread good word of mouth about you. The current ones will stay calm, more than that, you are bound to make your customer base bigger.
Do you have your own strategy that you use while dealing with angry customers? Feel free to comment and leave your opinion!