Whether your business is big or small, new or established, there will come a time when you have to calm an angry customer. Unfortunately, there is no vaccination against angry customers, but there are steps you can take to help calm customers down.
There is a common misconception around why customers complain. Many people believe that customers complain just for the sake of it or to get something for free. In reality, the real reason customers complain and get angry is because they want something rectified, and they want it rectified quickly and willingly and that isn’t happening.
So here are our five steps to calm an angry customer, turning them from an adversary into a devotee.
This one is really a no-brainer. If you have ears, use them. Listen carefully to your customer’s complaint and take notes if you need to. Often, a customer will just need to blow off a bit of steam before they really get down to the nuts and bolts of the issue. Pay attention and do not interrupt.
So, you have listened to your customer’s complaint, taken notes, and maybe even copped a rogue particle of saliva to the face. Now it is time to prove that you were actually paying attention. Confirm the issue with your customer, ensuring you use the same terminology they used. This lets the customer know that you were listening and, more importantly, understand the issue.
Angry customers do not care about sympathy; an angry customer could not care less if you feel bad for them. Angry customers want know that you feel their frustration, that you would be upset if you were in their situation. Empathy, not sympathy, is the key to getting an angry customer back on your side.
While it is great to let your customer know what you are going to do to rectify the situation, you also need to let them know how and when you are going to do it. Outline a specific timeframe and provide your contact details in case they need to contact you again.
Understanding that an angry customer is actually doing you a favour will help you keep your cool. You need to know that their complaint is not a personal attack but a chance to fix an issue. Thank your customer by name for bringing the issue to your attention. Remember: it is easier to keep an existing customer than it is to find a new one.
So the next time an angry customer attacks, remember to listen, confirm, empathise, detail and appreciate. And if that does not work, head over to canity.com for more tips on handling angry customers.
If you enjoyed this article, check out our other ones in the same series: