It’s never fun dealing with complaints and customer escalations, especially when things get heated or contentious. But it definitely helps if you employ a consistent approach that ups the likelihood of your complaint-handling success. Here are ten tips to help you handle your angry customers.
Tip #1: Let the customer vent
Generally, people are reasonable. So, if someone is angry from the get-go, then there’s usually a reason. Let the customer vent. It lets them get some of the frustration out and it gives you time to look at the call history including any notes or outstanding tickets.
Tip #2: Keep calm
Never, ever answer back. We know that it can feel really uncomfortable when someone is angry but answering back will only escalate the situation rather than calming it down. If the customer is venting, don’t interrupt. If you do, the customer may raise their voice to be heard causing you to raise your voice in turn – resulting in a shouting match which we can all agree is a less than ideal situation.
Tip #3: Reassure the customer
Kindness is something that’s woefully underrated, but it really is your best way forward here. Reassure the customer and let them know that you want to fix things for them. A few kind words can go a long way towards repairing a contentious relationship.
Tip #4: Listen to the complaint
Really listen to what the customer is saying. Actively listening to a customer complaint is one way to de-escalate a situation – and make sure the person feels heard by summarizing the details of their issue once they’ve finished speaking and ask further questions to clarify their complaint if needed.
Tip #5: Keep it factual
Another way to de-escalate the situation is to stick to the facts. If you’re polite, calm, and factual it’s pretty difficult to argue with your approach. Sticking to the facts will also take the emotion out of the situation, enabling you both to agree on a way forward.
Tip #6: Empathize with the customer
Use empathy to build bridges with the customer and to show them that you understand the impact their issue has had. Putting yourself in the customer’s place can go a long way to smoothing things over.
Tip #7: Identify an initial solution
Once the customer has explained why they’re unhappy, it’s important to find a solution – even if it’s temporary. Ask the customer what their biggest pain points are so that you know what to prioritize. Work with your support teams to see if there are any workarounds that will get them up and running ASAP.
Tip #8: Keep in touch
Tell your customer what you’ll do next to ensure that their issue is resolved. Give them your contact information, so that they can contact you if the issue arises again. So many unhappy customer interactions are caused by things falling through the cracks or not being followed up on. And check in with your customer to ensure they’re happy with the resolution or able to use the offered workaround.
Tip #9: Ensure that you deliver (on your promises)
If you’ve promised “next steps,” then make sure you deliver on them. Don’t make the customer chase you for updates and (as above) keep in touch until you’re sure that the person is up and running again and that everything is working as it should be.
Tip #10: Check if anything else is needed.
Give your customer a call once the issue has been resolved and ask if everything is going smoothly. If you’ve the ability to go above and beyond for this customer, then now is definitely the time. You can’t erase their previous experience, but you can make them feel better about dealing with your team going forward.
So, that’s our top ten tips for dealing with angry customers. What would you add to this? Please let us know in the comments.