If you are in a customer-centric business that directly handles customers, you will likely encounter upset clients. It can be unpleasant and stressful working with angry customers, but that’s when good customer service skills are crucial. How you react under pressure impacts the future of your relationships with customers.
From our 13-years of offering customer support to clients’, we’ve had some roses and thorns; and have some informative customer support insights. Here are tips you can use to manage a tense situation and turn around your customers’ bad experience.
1. Remain calm. When a customer sends you an angry email or shouts at you on a phone call, it’s easy to fall into the trap of being defensive. Dealing with an angry client requires keeping your cool when things heat up. Having a clear sense of boundaries and understanding that the customer is not cross with you will help you focus on your customer’s problem and resolve the issue calmly. Understanding their concerns will put you in a better position to respond and take action in a way that’s satisfactory to your customers.
2. Don’t take it personally. A tried and tested approach of diffusing the situation would be to separate yourself from the business and understand that the customer is merely expressing frustration at the product. Having a clear understanding that customers are frustrated with the performance of your product or the quality of the service you provide will help you keep your emotions in check to focus on the issue at hand.
3. Reflective listening. Customers go on the defensive when they feel ignored or that their case is not a priority. Show your angry clients that they are being heard by articulating their issues back to them. Active listening and acknowledging their complaint will make your customers feel valued and heard. Paying attention to their words will help you respond to their concerns and increase the chances of an issue getting solved faster.
4. Empathize. Whether a customer’s reaction to your product or service is unwarranted, you need to show that you understand their dissatisfaction or unpleasant. The response given should acknowledge the extent of the severity of the issue. Expressing sympathy or remorse will help smooth things over and might offer a fresh start to an otherwise frustrating situation.
5. De-escalate emotions. When emotions are flying high, it can be hard to communicate effectively or solve the issue at hand. Put your client on a strategic hold to de-escalate the tension and give the customer time to cool off. An added benefit is that this approach will increase the time to internalize the issue and find a quick fix to your customer’s problem.
6. Find a solution. When offering a solution, the rule of the thumb is to ensure you explain to the customer the steps you will take to solve the problem. Generally, customers want to know that you have understood and can fix the problem for them to be at ease. Informing them the whole process will also manage their expectations and give them a timeline of how soon they should expect a resolution to avoid escalating the issue further.
7. Highlight the priority. When a company is dealing with multiple clients, it’s possible for the angry customer to feel expendable, which can create negative feelings. Justify the time it will take to resolve an issue by explaining your support process and the significance of the problem. Ensure that the customer knows that you value them and will not put their case on the back burner. If needed, you can set up a follow-up time to reassure them of the progress.
8. Follow up. Go the extra mile to appease an angry client by following up. After an outburst, it’s crucial to restore positive feelings and improve the negative image of your business. Setting up a phone call at a convenient time to explain a problematic situation is one of the ways you can achieve this. You can then let them know why an issue occurred and how to prevent it in the future. Not only will it explain the situation, but it will also show your customer that you value their business.
When customer service is done right, you will retain existing customers and generate positive reviews to help you acquire new customers. Treating clients with disdain, irrespective of the circumstances, can reflect negatively on your company’s reputation and damage your brand image.
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