In business, good customer service just won’t cut it anymore. Companies today are putting a premium on exceptional customer service, often hiring professional trainers to regularly train their employees on the best practices and strategies to keep their customers happy. A big chunk of this training is about irate or angry customers and how to deal with them.Here are several tips on how to diffuse the situation, save the sale and keep them coming back.
1. The Helping Attitude Mindset
To be an effective front liner, you have to be able to switch to a customer service mindset every time, regardless if there’s an angry customer or not. Being in this mindset will allow you to naturally want to help and be there for them. Most people would know when you’re faking it because of your body language and facial expressions. By adopting a help-first attitude daily, you will better prepare yourself for the times when an angry customer walks in and be a natural at it.
2. Actively Listen to their Concerns
Learn the subtle art of listening. Just open yourself up to the situation, and let them vent whatever it is they want to say. Remain quiet for the duration of their outburst and let them run out of steam. When they finally finish, calmly let them know that you know how they feel and show them empathy. Apologize (even if you don’t agree with them) and repeat to them the gist of their concern. By summarizing what their concerns are (at the end of their tirade) and showing empathy, you’re letting them know that you were listening and that you care about them and want to resolve the situation.
This is different from active listening, so please don’t confuse the two. Active listening is repeating or paraphrasing what the customer just said, and is inappropriate for situations such as dealing with an angry customer. If you keep on interrupting and repeating what they say like a parrot, it’ll infuriate them further because it’s annoying.
3. Switch off any Emotions
Always remember that these episodesaren’t personal. Angry customers are just probably having a bad day and the situation involving your store pushed them over the edge. It’s unfortunate that it happened, but some people deal with situations differently than others. But, you have to set limits on what you can and cannot allow. There are situations when you have to be more assertive to let them know that they’re crossing the line, or you can simply walk away before it escalates further.
4. Never be a Deer caught in the Headlights
Never act dumb, or act like you don’t know anything in front of a raging customer. This will guarantee a bigger explosion. Also, never tell them that you’ll go call your supervisor or manager. Managers and supervisors are the absolute last resort, so try to solve the issue yourself. Check the POS retail software if it’s a stock issue or if you need to confirm more details about the sale. You have to exhaust all means to solve it by listening to your customer so you can get the root of the problem together. Offer them solutions that you can really deliver, which leads us to…
5. Never Promise anything you can’t deliver
If you’re faced with an angry customer and the only thing you could think of was to send them home with the promise of a new product replacement without getting to the root of the problem and trying to solve it, you’ll be in a pickle. If your company does an investigation and learns that it’s the customer’s fault, what then? You just promised a product replacement without knowing the facts and your request was turned down. Now, you’d have to inform this customer of what went down, and I assure you, this will notend well for you. You’ll be on the receiving end of another tirade, and you’ll probably lose that customer.
We’re all customers, and there may have been a time when we lost it over botched meal, a broken product or a delayed service. More often than not, a majority of us would let the front liners know how upset we really are, while some would always remain calm and collected. In a perfect world, I would love to deal with the calm and collected all day, every day. But we don’t live in a perfect world, and not everyone can be pleased. There will always be angry customers, so it’s important to practice dealing with them in a constructive manner and help them in whatever way you can, because customers drive businesses, and customer service is king.