8 WAYS TO DEAL WITH IRATE CUSTOMERS
Have you ever had to deal with irate customers?
We doubt there is any business owner or entrepreneur who would say that they’ve never had to deal with angry customers. It could be a customer who is angry that the product didn’t come in a specific color or that you took time to respond to their messages.
Sometimes these customers are extremely angry for legitimate reasons as it could be that they were not satisfied with your services. Other times, it could be for flimsy reasons.
However, the customer is king, and you need to treat them delicately. You need to handle these customers in ways that would pacify them and eventually still have them as your customers.
In this article, we’d be sharing ways you can deal with irate customers. These tips have proven to be helpful and we are sure that they would come in handy for you.
Best Ways to Handle Angry Customers
Some easy but effective ways to deal with angry customers are:
1. Practice active listening
Sometimes, you’d get a call from a customer who keeps going on and on about their dissatisfaction on an issue. It often feels like they wouldn’t stop talking as it is from one complaint to another.
It’s easy to want to tune out in such a situation, but that would be the wrong approach. Instead, the best and right thing to do is to practice active listening. Hard as it may seem, active listening is what can help you out in such a situation.
You cannot give satisfactory answers to the customer if you do not know what the complaint is about. Therefore, you must listen actively and take note of their pain point. It is the only way you can move the conversation forward when it is time to proffer a solution.
Interestingly, allow us to tell you that the customer knows when you are not paying attention. And, we know that you wouldn’t want to leave such an impression. When you are actively listening to the customer as they speak, you would even sometimes help them complete their sentences.
It makes the customer happy to know that they aren’t just ranting, but you are paying attention and determined to help them rectify their issues.
2. Be patient
Patience is a key virtue for anyone who has to deal with customers. You may be the CEO of a company or the customer service representative. As long as you have to interact with customers, you should keep in mind that you are the face of the company. Therefore, you need to be patient, or you would drive the customers away.
Sometimes, it could be that you have already proffered a solution to the customer but they are still complaining. Or they just don’t want to listen to you in the heat of anger. What do you do at that moment?
The best option is to keep trying to reach out to this customer in a gentle manner. It is best to keep in mind that the anger would fade away eventually. So, you have to be patient.
You must not make the mistake of losing your patience as that would be digging a deeper hole for you and the company. After all, you cannot afford to lose the customer as no business can exist without the customer.
If you notice that you’re on the verge of losing your cool, remember that ‘the customer is always right.’ It should keep your mindset in check as you keep relating with the customer.
3. Be ready to apologize
In our years of dealing with customers, we can tell you that customers are like big babies. One minute they are angry and threatening to stop doing business with your brand. The next minute, they are singing the praises of your business to others.
No matter how angry a customer might seem, they tend to calm down once they see that the brand is ready to apologize. Customers always love it when the brand is ready to own their mistakes and proffer solutions.
One of the reasons why it seems like customers leave brands easily is because these brands ignore the complaints of their customers. When it seems like you’re paying a deaf ear to their complaints, they will move to your competitors.
In an encounter with any angry customer, you should be ready to apologize as it takes nothing from you. Offering a sincere apology to the customer shows that their concerns are valid and you are ready to work with them to make them happy.
It appeals to their emotions and helps to calm them down. As someone who has to interface with customers, you must never let your ego get in the way. Else, you’ll be headed down a destructive path.
4. Proffer a solution
So, your customer comes to you with complaints. What do you do about it?
Yes, you may practice active listening and even apologize. But all these without taking action would mean nothing to the customer. When a customer keeps complaining about a particular issue and you do not proffer a solution, they will eventually get tired of complaining.
Instead of always complaining, they will stop talking about the issue. But it wouldn’t stop there. Instead, they will see your brand as an unserious one that doesn’t value customers. Then, they will look for your competitors and port to them. They will even further go round telling people to avoid your business because you do not have solutions to complaints.
Imagine such a thing happening to your brand. Of course, we know that you wouldn’t want to have such imaginations. It is why you need to ensure that you always proffer solutions to angry customers.
By listening to them, you can identify their pain points. So, go ahead and think of how you can solve the issue to calm them down. It is best to keep in mind that your customers are human beings. Therefore, you should treat them the same way you’d want to be treated by other brands.
5. Be sincere
Sincerity also goes a long way when you’re interfacing with customers. It is one thing to be dealing with an angry customer. However, it is another ball game when you lie to this customer and the customer eventually finds out. Best believe that the customers would be pained and can go to any length for payback. We wouldn’t advise any entrepreneur to be caught in such a situation.
Understandably, there could be times when you do not have a solution to the complaints of the customer. It could be that it would take time to build the solution that the customer needs.
Unfortunately, some brands result in lying in a bid to calm the customer. For example, it may take three weeks before the solution is ready. However, the brand decides to tell the customer that the solution would be ready in five days because the customer is angry.
What happens after five days and the solution isn’t ready? You can be sure that the customer would be more pissed than they were before.
Therefore, it is always best to be sincere. In such a situation, you should calmly explain to the customer how long it would take for the solution to be ready and why it would take that long. It helps to lower their expectations and work with you better.
6. Explain the steps you are taking to fix the problem
In the last point, we mentioned that you should always be sincere with the customer. It entails not just telling the customer the truth, but also carrying the customer along in the process.
One thing about customers is that they do not like vague answers. If they are using their money to patronize your products and services, they expect that they are now a part of your business family. Therefore, they want to know every detail of issues that concern them.
Now, if you cannot offer a solution to an angry customer at the moment, let them know that you really wish to help out but it is not possible. Of course, the customer would ask ‘why.’ Then, go further to explain the various steps you are taking to build that solution.
It shows the customer that you are proactive and want to help out. The customer might ask ‘why’ many times. It is your duty to keep answering until they understand. Once you get to that customer where the customer knows everything that is happening, you’ve done a great job.
This way, the customer wouldn’t keep bugging you or getting angry when things do not go in a way they want. Instead, they will be patient and understanding until you can come up with the solution.
7. Understand that anger is natural
Imagine dealing with an angry customer and also getting angry in the process. It wouldn’t make any sense as nothing works correctly when both parties are equally angry. It is also best to keep in mind that your brand has more to lose than the customer.
Some may complain that customers are extremely rude when angry or that these customers do some unreasonsable things. Undertsnably, we also agree that customers are not always saints. However, your business reputation is always at stake when you are dealing with angry customers. Thus, you need to be strategic about your actions.
One of the best ways to deal with irate customers is to understand that anger is natural. They could be angry because something is not going the way they expect and that is a natural feeling. The fact that they are angry does not mean that they hate you or that they are on a personal attack mission against you.
One of the reasons why some people cannot manage angry customers is because they take the issue personally and become emotional about it.
Once you understand that the customer only wants better services and not out to spite you, it will be easier to manage their anger.
8. Be empathetic
Another way to effectively handle angry customers is to be empathetic. It could be through your tone of voice or your facial expression. It depends on the situation at hand. Are you talking to the customer through the phone or is it a face-to-face conversation?
It is always best to show the customer that you also share in their pain and that you do not like that they are not happy. Let the customer see that you are doing everything in your power to ensure their satisfaction and that you wouldn’t rest until they’re happy.
Your tone of voice matters a lot when dealing with angry customers. If your voice seems harsh, it would only aggravate the customers’ anger and things would escalate.
You cannot own a business or be interfacing with customers if you are not empathetic. It is one soft skill you need to have or develop. Yes, you may want to argue that it would take time to hone this soft skill if you’re not a naturally empathetic person and it is understandable. However, always remember that no one expects you to be perfect. Instead, you should keep trying your best and you will get better at it.
It is easier to calm an angry customer when you use an empathetic tone or expression.