- Assume that the customer is justified in being angry
When we receive a complaint from an angry customer, it can be easy to try to evaluate the complaint or even dismiss the complaint as if we assume it’s something that the customer has done wrong. It’s true that everyone makes mistakes and a customer could be the cause of the complaint, but if we start with the mindset that the customer has the right to be angry (whether they caused the complaint or not), this will make it easier for us to handle the situation professionally and in a calm way.
- Listen, listen, and listen some more!
One of the most effective ways to defuse an angry customer is to listen to them, let them vent their anger. Don’t try to interrupt them or jump in with a quick solution at this early stage. Let them have their say! You may know exactly what the solution is within seconds of them speaking, but now is the time to listen!
- Never argue back
So you’ve spent some time listening to this angry customer but then they go and say something too far like directing their anger at you as a representative of the department they’re calling. You may be tempted to argue back or defend yourself and your department but this is the worse thing that you could do at this stage. Remember that the customer may not be angry with you personally but they are most likely angry about their situation. The best thing you can do is remain calm, don’t take it personally, and don’t retaliate emotion with emotion and argue back!
- Fight anger with kindness!
Up to this point you’ve done a lot of listening and not saying too much, but that’s OK! But at some stage the customer will expect some kind of response from you. Now we’ve mentioned how responding with anger will only escalate the situation, so you need to do the exact opposite, respond with kindness, and lots of it! You can start by apologizing, now this doesn’t necessarily mean you are admitting that your team is at fault but you can just say sorry for the difficulty they are going through, something like: “I’m really sorry about the issue you’re experiencing…..” And when you apologize, mean it! There’s nothing worse to an angry customer when someone is saying sorry for the sake of it, they will detect that you’re not being sincere. So go above and beyond in trying to assure them that you’re here to help and want to resolve their issue.
- Use their name
A person’s anger can quickly subside if you deal with them kindly and also if you use their name, it may sound simple but it works! Tell them your name and once you know their name try to use it throughout the conversation. You’ll be surprised about the results.
- Take ownership!
A lot of customers may be angry because they feel their complaint is being passed around from one person to another, no one cares about it. Take ownership of their issue and let them know you’re doing so. Reassure them that you will deal with their issue until they are satisfied, even if this means passing their issue onto another team to complete, you will still “own” the issue until completion.
- Find a solution
Simple…….find the solution and resolve the angry customers issue!
- Why did this happen?
Angry, complaining customers can be your biggest avenue of learning! So use this experience to learn why this customer complained, what could have been done to prevent them complaining, and how you could prevent another customer complaining about the same issue in the future. You’ve all heard the saying prevention is better than cure!
- Relieve your stress!!
After you’ve dealt with an angry customer you might find that you are quite wound up and tense yourself! You may find it helpful to take a quick break, relieve some stress, cool down before you deal with further customers. If you don’t relieve your stress you could face an angry customer and this time it may be harder to keep your cool!!