Dealing with Angry Customers
It happens on a regular basis! Angry customers express their frustration by aiming their complaints at staff members.
If this happens to you, then don’t despair. You are not the first to be concerned by raised voices and maybe even a threat of violent behaviour. Stay calm and devise a plan to face such a situation.
How do I deal with angry customers?
If you wish to be successful in any business, then you have to learn how to handle angry and disgruntled customers who may not have received the level of service that they expected from the company that you are representing.
Before you devise your plan to cope with these difficult situations, it is important to try and understand the view point from both sides. You are that initial point of contact with the angry customer and they are actually expressing their concerns about the company and not about you as an individual. Try not to take it personally.
You should also remember that the customer is always right. Your aim should always be customer satisfaction, whatever the situation. How you achieve this is up to you based on your individual strengths and inter-personal skills, however, listed below are a few guidelines to help you develop your own personal strategy for dealing with angry customers:
Never argue back: Remember that the simple mathematical rule of ‘two negatives make a positive ‘ does not work in this case. You have to face a confrontational situation by calming the irate customer with your positive and professional behaviour. You must resolve to stay calm and aim to satisfy the customer even in the most difficult situations. It is only by empathising with their view point and suggesting a possible solution that you will resolve the situation and send the customer away happy.
Use your ears more than your mouth: Remember that you have two ears and only one mouth – so make sure you listen more than you speak. If you try to respond forcefully when your customer is angry , then the situation will certainly get out of control and you are unlikely to succeed in resolving the situation. More importantly, by listening carefully, you will be able to understand why the customer is complaining, so that satisfactory steps can be taken.
Show that you care: Once the anger subsides, there will be a short interval when the customer pauses for breath and that is when you have an opportunity to express your empathy and understanding. You have to show that you care and that you will do everything within your power to try and resolve the situation. This exhibition of your concern will win the customer over and half your battle will be won. There will be a significant change in their behaviour and you will be able to turn the situation around.
Be patient: It never pays to be impatient, in any business. Although it is not easy to control one’s emotions when a customer is being unreasonable in their behaviour, you will have to remain professional, friendly and cooperative in order to succeed. Having patience with your customers and with yourself will go a long way in winning over hostile customers.
Be positive in your approach: Even in the worst of circumstances, try to overcome all negative tendencies and adopt a positive approach and mindset. This will also help you to manage your stress effectively so you are not weighed down by the hostile attitude of the customer. You should be gentle with yourself and try and express your point of view assertively without in any way offending your customer’s feelings.
Control your anger: Getting angry is a common trait of human nature but you should learn to control your anger, relax and calm yourself so that you can express your anger in a subtle way without showing any emotions towards your customer.
De-stress yourself from time to time: By the time you succeed in winning over the customer, you will naturally be exhausted and stressed. It is important for your own health as well as customer relations that you learn how to de-stress yourself. There is nothing like a hot cup of coffee to rejuvenate your sagging nerves. Or take some time off to listen to some music or chat with your friends in the cafeteria. Apart from music, meditation and breathing exercises may be effective. However, these are only suggestions; there is no fixed recipe for dealing with stressful emotions – you have to find what works for you.
The above guidelines are very useful in every situation in life and you can successfully tackle hostile circumstances by following them.
It is very important to understand the psychology of the customer who is expressing his dissatisfaction with the company’s products or services. It is natural for a customer to show their anger and express frustration and disappointment. The secret of success is to remain calm. Show respect and empathy to the customer by listening patiently and then put forward your point of view. Always let the customer know what you can do for them rather than what you can’t do. Offer a possible solution and ask if the customer is happy with that solution. You will seldom find that the customer says no! If you follow the above tips, you are on your way to succeeding in your career.
Written by Shushmul.
Updated On: 24 Mar 2016