How to Deal With Angry Customers
Notice how we use the word angry and not disgruntled or even dissatisfied customers? Quality of life in societies seemed to improve in tandem with the advancement of technologies. Customers these days are so well informed with a wide variety of knowledge and know how.
They even be better at researching the product or services AND it’s competitors. Having these knowledge first hand, customers these days are more demanding with multiple choices. Therefore should their expectations are not met they turn a tad-bit more “angrier” comparingly to customers behaviour of bygone eras.
More and more people who have worked, or those who are still working in the hospitality, retail and servicing industries are finding it hard to cope with customers demand these days.
With angry customers, correspondence through by email or by social media, there seems to be a no-holds-barred type of reply from the customers. Bordering simply rude to outright verbal abuse. Resulting in these establishments to have a high turnover of staff.
Despite all of the above, companies should not only “put blame” on technology, customers or even staff on these occurrence. Perhaps instead of putting blame, seek out ways to assist the front liner staff as best as they can.
Here are some ways on How To Deal With Angry Customers:
1. Everyone Knows To Be Calm
Don’t be reactive be proactive as quoted by Tun Mahathir in his address during the recent ASEAN meet. No doubt in his context he is asking the SEA countries to not be reactive to the international markets, but instead be proactive. We can take his wisdom, tailor-make it and apply it when facing an angry customer.
By not reacting to the emotions caused by the unpleasant feedback given by the customers. Instead, remain calm and view the situation from an objective point of view. Then instead of only reacting to the customers confrontation, you can be proactive to assist to find the solution. Or if it is not your job task, still be proactive to “lead” customer to the “correct” department or person in charge.
2. Be Humble (But Not Till Bullied)
Not asking you to grovel on your news and bow to the customers. Far be it from our definition of being humble. Sometimes, as a person with power and position might also cause us to be slightly arrogant at times. Having said that, a customer is always our bread and better. Try to be humble, the customers just needs help at the same time vent a little bit of steam . . .
But of course don’t go the other way into extreme humbleness till you are bullied by the psychopathic ones. Just being cautious.
3. Listen With Empathy
“Empathy is awareness of others’ feelings, needs and concerns.”
Daniel Goleman, in Working with Emotional Intelligence
This is one skill where people who are in the service industry should have. Those who understands empathy naturally sends a “sincerity signal” to their customers without even trying. For it is just that! Sincerity to help the angry/frustrated customer to solve their problems. From the customers end, they can feel or even see this truth and will appreciate. Gaining back the customers trust and a guaranteed loyalty to your brand.
4. Apologize AND Admit
Apologize for apologizing. Make sense? Yes, sometimes it does not make sense to apologize, when by doing so it does not solve the situation. Still apologize generally. Not asking you to take the blame when it is not your fault. But think from a “WE” perspective and not an “I”. You are representing the whole group.
Admitting is also a great way to ensure the angry customer pause and listen. A form of accountability as an organization.
5. No Solution Find a Resolution
When you reach an impasse in your customers situation and seemingly the customer get even more angrier. Do not give up! Don’t shy away from this challenge. remember it is not to you, but to the problem that this emotion is being displayed. So find a resolution, or the best other alternative and offer it to your customer.
6. Angry Because Hungry? Feed Them!
Last but not least, perhaps you can try what many Malaysians are good at. We “jemput” the customer to “makan” while waiting for the solution. Haven’t you heard of the term HANGRY? It is scientifically proven that when someone is hungry, they are a tad bit more angrier (click to read more).
Perhaps you can suggest to your organisation to prepare, light snacks, cookies with a coffee machine in the customer service or complaints department. It is rather hard for someone to stay angry for so long when they have some sugar rushing through their blood.
An angry or even a fussy customer gained, are 10 times more valuable than reaching a new customer. They will be loyal to your brand and help you spread your brand through word of mouth. One of the age old and still powerful way of marketing.