No matter how good your services are, chances are at some point you will make a mistake and have a customer angry with you and your company. It’s just a part of doing business. When handled properly, you can turn this situation around to not only assuage the customer, but to even make it a positive experience that reflects well on your company in a public way.
When a customer complains, he can do it in one of two ways: privately to you or one of your representatives, or publicly on the Internet or in front of other people.
When an angry customer approaches you privately, this is your opportunity to satisfy the customer and have them telling others about how great you were at turning around the experience. When an angry customer lashes out in public, you have a great opportunity for smoothing things over and showing the entire Internet how great your customer service is!
So, how can you get these results with your company? There are a few simple steps.
When you are approached by an angry customer, the first thing to do is listen. People want to feel like they are being heard. Listen to what the customer has to say, and sympathize with them. Tell them you understand what they are saying, and you can understand why it is frustrating. Make sure you really get their problem. You don’t want to set up any barriers between yourself and the customer.
Once you have the details of the customers problem, you have confirmed the problem, and you have genuinely sympathized with the customer and the situation, ask them what you can do to make things better. People don’t want to hear about your routine recovery avenue or what your company “usually does in situations like this.” Good customer service is based on creative and on your feet thinking. Ask what the customer wants, and then see if this is a realistic request.
Once you have heard the customer, launch into recovery mode. Be sure to never promise a customer something you can’t deliver, no matter how angry or upset the customer is. Making a promise you can’t keep is one of the worst things to do in this situation because you will disappoint and further anger a customer who is already dissatisfied. It’s best to promise less than you’re actually capable of delivering if you don’t know what recovery options are realistically available to you.
When you listen, ask, and act, you set yourself up for success in dealing with angry customers. When this exchange happens in private you give the customer the personal, one-on-one attention they desire and leave them with a sense of satisfaction, and hopefully, newfound respect for your company. When this happens in a public forum like an online business review site, potential customers will be impressed by how you handled a bad situation and turned it into an excellent one.
With listen, act, and ask you’ll have all the tools you need for success with angry customers!