Dealing with Unhappy Customers
If you are in any kind of sales, at some point you will come across customers who are not happy with your business, service, product or service.
Some customers get so mad they take to social media and tell everybody about their bad experience. The video or comment is seen or read by thousands of people. This can affect your business, if not handled properly.
But before that happens many angry customers will walk up to the customer service department and demand that their issues be dealt with. It is in this moment that things can be fixed or go very wrong and cause the angry customer to get angrier.
We have all been there. We have either been the angry customer or we are confronted by an angry customer.
Many of us wish we can walk away everytime we are faced with angry customers. Many of us want to yell back at the customer and make them feel how they are making us feel.
But then there are those who see angry customers as an opportunity to help them solve their problems. This can only be done if you have built a positive mindset.
Good salespeople do not take customer anger personally. They understand how to detach themselves from the situation. They do not involve themselves emotionally, rather they keep their sense of about them.
In the end, how you deal with the situation will affect your customer’s perception of you and your company.
If you deal with the situation in a positive way and apply the principles in how to win friends and influence people, this can lead to additional sales and can lead to referrals in the future.
Everyone salesperson has a different view of what customer service is and what it should be. A salesperson can believe they are giving great service but the customer can believe we are under preforming.
On the other hand, we may believe we are not giving the best service but our customers may believe that we are giving the best experience they have ever had.
It all comes down to the customer’s perception and expectations.
As professional it’s our job to know how the customer experience is going and adjust if the experience is not going well. We are not going to make every customer we have happy.
The truth is not matter if the customer is on the phone of in front of us we can make them angry without ever realizing it.
Bad for Business
Did you know we should do our best to resolve the customer’s problem? If we don’t do a good job handling customer service expectations, customers will make sure others do not do business with us.
So, what is the solution to our angry customer problem?
When a customer is angry, we need to make sure our customers feel comfortable in coming to us for a solution. We should take the time to understand their problem and then find the right solution to solve the problem.
Dealing With Angry Customers
What is anger?
The dictionary says, it’s a strong feeling of displeasure. I would agree and add, we have not done our job to satisfy the customers’ expectations.
Why do customers get angry? I believe this happens when a product or service does not live up to the customers’ expectations, understanding or they were giving the wrong information by a sales agent.
When this happens, many customers choose not to go back to the place of business and explain their negative experience to sales agents. Customers believe if they come in to our place of business, their issue will not get resolved.
So, they just never go back but they tell everyone they can about their bad experience.
When an angry customer comes in, it is normal to want to defend yourself against an angry person.
Do not fall in to this trap. We need to remember customers are not mad at us rather they are upset with the experience they have had with our company or the product or service.
A professional sales person, handles the situation and does not become angry. When you do this the customers can become one of your most loyal customers. Remember loyal customers send you referrals and talk positive about you and their experience with you.
How to Turn Angry Customers to Loyal Ones
When you face any angry customers, remember your job is to help them find a solution. You cannot do this if you do not listen to the customer. You need to listen and ask the right questions so you can rebuild the relationship.
When you are talking with your customer, try to figure out the personality type. The better you understand them, the better questions you can ask based on how they want to be communicated with.
As a sales agent or customer service rep, always be ready to deal with angry customers. Because you are prepared, you will come off as a professional. The customer will trust that you are able to help.
With your confidence, you project your ability to handle tough situations. It shows that you have dealt with unhappy customers in the past and you are willing to help again.
You attitude should display your eagerness to help all customers. Use positive assuring words. Have a caring tone in your voice and assure the customer that you are going to help them solve their problem.
In sales, it can be helpful to mirror the customer’s body language and tone. This is not always the case when you are dealing with an angry customer.
You need to have a positive tone and attitude. If the customer senses that you are willing to help and you do not react the will typically clam down and even apologies for their actions.
Without realizing it they may be start mirroring your actions.
Therefore, it is important to not get angry when you have a mad or defensive customer in front of you. Do not blame others or make excuses. It is time to deal with the situation, not make it worse.
Most important is to not argue with the client. You will never win the argument, the client to your side or make another sale with this customer. This means you can lose thousands of dollars in future sales.
Apologize and Commit to Solving the Problem
Angry customers have one thing in common, they feel wronged by someone in the company.
We do not have a lot of time to win back the customer. As soon as an unhappy customer comes in, it is time to take control of the situation.
Apologize that this situation came up for the customer. This does not mean you are accepting blame. It means you understand that there is an issue and you want to help resolve it.
Be a professional sales personal and customer service expert. You or another sales agent committed to selling a product or service, now it is time to stand behind that commitment.
If the customer is not familiar with you, tell them your full name and tell them you will do your best to resolve their issue the best you can.
If you have an office take the customer there and if you do not have access to an office, take them to a quitter place where the customer can express their dissatisfaction.
We do not want to disturbing other sales that are taking place and give a bad impression of your company, service or product.
Ask your customer to tell you what they are angry about.
If you want to give the best customer service possible, have a pre-written script in your mind. This will make it easier of you to guide the conversation and give your customer the feeling that you are an effective communicator.
Listen and Empathize
This is not where the customer listens to you talk and offer solutions. This is our time to listen to the customer’s frustrations.
When you listen, you need to understand that the customer wants to express their anger and get help in finding a solution that will satisfy their concern.
Sometime times customers will yell, curse and even start a fight with you. You need to understand it is not personal.
If the customer is overly aggressive you can ask the customer to calm down or ask them to come back when they are not going to yell and be disruptive to others.
Listening – Make eye contact with the customer when they are talking. Keep your body language positive and nodding to show you understanding what they are saying.
It is important to eliminate negative body language such as smiles, shrugging of the shoulders and crossed arms as it can come of insincere.
When you are listening, you should be taking notes, if possible. That way the customers does not have to repeat themselves. It also shows that what they are saying is important to you.
Empathize – When the customer is telling their story try to put yourself in their situation and feel what they feel. Find ways to agree with what they are saying, again this does not mean you agree with what the customer is saying.
You are showing empathy.
When your customer has had the opportunity to vent and seems calmer, you can move to the next step.
Confirm Understanding And Determine Other Concerns
Confirm understanding – Use the notes you have written, along with what the customer has said, to summarize what you understand about their concerns. If you have missed anything this will allow them to expand on what they are saying.
Determine Other Concerns – Ask your customer if they have other concerns that have not been brought up. If we do not ask now they might remember later and that may make them angry, once again. This means that we may have to start the process of finding a solution all over again.
If you are going to solve the customers issue, you should know what resolutions you have available to you. If you do not have the tools to solve the problem yourself, you may have to take the issue to a manager.
This is not the place to just start offering solutions. It is important to find out what the customer wants. Involve them when looking for a solution.
We have all been there. We ask what the customer needs from us. The customer spends no time thinking about it and has already come in with a solution.
They typically want more than we can offer them. We feel entitled to the best solution and want free products, services or a discounted price.
Know how to handle this. Only offer solutions that are within your authority and use simple language so it comes of easy to understand.
If they do not like your solution you may need to talk to a manager for a solution that you may not have authority to give.
You can ask the manager to come over and help. I found it is better to take the customer’s information, name and number, and tell them that you will discuss other options with your manager. Then you reach out with your solutions.
The Polite Close
This is not a long process. Make sure you apologize again. DO NOT re-summarize the issue the customer had. This can agitate anyone and the process may need to start all over again.
It is smart to ask if there is anything else you can help the customer with today. They may need to purchase something. Note, it may not be smart to ask if you have not come to any resolution that can satisfy the customer.
Here is the key step in the whole process. Thank the customer for sharing their concern and allow you to help them.
Follow-up as Promised
The follow up step is one that no one wants to do. This step in the process is handled poorly. Many sales and customer service people forget to call the customer back!
Because you will follow up with the customer you have ability to win over more customers after the situation has been resolved.
Call the customer the next day. The time that has passed will hopefully allow the customer to further clam down. Let the customer know that you have discussed everything with your manager and this is what you can do.
Stick to your manager’s decisions. If your customer want to discuss the matter with your manager, find out the best time to call the customer and have your manager call them back.
Sometimes even though the customer has accepted our decision they want to try one last time to get more by going to our superiors.
If you do this one step it will pay long-term dividends, I promise.
Contrary to popular believe, the customer is not always right. We need to be respectful and find ways to satisfy the customer.
Servicing our customers can be difficult. It is an art form that should be learnt, practiced and perfected. Not everyone likes to deal with angry customers. Take it as your responsibility when they do come in.
You will get better at building customer relationships and over time increase sales.
Remember the seven steps you must take to resolve customer issues.
- Get into help mode.
- Apologize and commit to solving the problem.
- Listen and be empathetic.
- Confirm you understand and ask if there are other concerns.
- Find solutions to solve the problem.
- Have a polite close.
- Follow-up with the customer.
Which step do you need the most help with?
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