Dissatisfied customers are par for the course when you work in a customer service role. However, you should note that each unhappy customer is an opportunity to maintain or even improve your customer base. Your response will determine whether the customer will spread bad publicity of your business or rave about your stellar customer service. When confronted with an angry customer, here are some things you can do to help resolve the situation:
Don’t evaluate whether the customer has a right to be angry.
When a customer calls and is unhappy with a product or service, it’s commonplace for the service representative to internally evaluate whether they think the customer is justified in their anger. The problem with this is that the only thing this thinking can do is frustrate you more if you don’t agree with their feelings.
Try not to do this and instead focus on the fact that the customer does have the privilege to be irate. If you listen carefully to their expression of their anger, you might be able to figure out the root of their concerns. This will help you resolve the complaint much more easily than internally judging the caller.
When the customer is at their height of expressing their emotions, be patient and listen to their concerns. Don’t interrupt them, as this will likely make them angrier and simply fuel the fire. Wait for the wave of emotion to pass and then interject with reassurances that you care about their business and are there to help. If the customer hits you with another wave of intensity, complete this process again. Wait for the customer to calm down before approaching the issue at hand.
Repeat the customer’s concerns back to them.
After you’ve thoroughly listened to the customer’s issues, reiterate the highlighted priorities that you believe you’ve heard from their perspective. This will help you figure out which aspects of the problem to tackle first and reassure the customer that you are on the same page with them.
Own the issue.
It doesn’t matter what happened before the customer came to you. Who created the problem isn’t important to your immediate task of providing excellent service. When confronted with an emotional customer, let them know that you own the problem and will work hard to achieve the best results possible for them.
Customer service is not an easy job, especially when faced with a combative customer. It’s important to remember that you can handle that kind of situation, even if it is overwhelming and sometimes confusing.