No matter how amazing of a job you think you've done for a customer, some still won't be satisfied. You can go above and beyond the call of duty to deliver them a superb service and still receive an earful. That is just a part of doing business. It can get really frustrating because you feel you are chasing an illusion trying to satisfy them, and nothing you seem to do works. At that point, you are probably ready to cut ties and move on. You have other customers to think about anyway.
As gratifying as that may be, leaving a loose end like an angry customer could potentially harm your reputation. And if they choose to give an online review, you could be looking at a drop in profit. So instead of avoiding them, here are some tips on dealing with unhappy customers.
Of course, you don't want to have your ears screamed off by customers, but it's the casualty of doing business. Your job as a business owner is to remain calm, and actively listen. Disgruntled customers feel betrayed. They trusted you with their money, energy and most importantly, their time, and feel you didn't deliver in some way. Honestly, they just need to get it off their chest. So let them shout their concerns, and receive them objectively. Put yourself in their shoes and avoid being reactionary. Cutting them off or challenging them in any way will just anger them more. So listen to understand not to defend.
Actively listening leads right into the clarification process, asking them concise questions to make sure you both are on the same page. Not overlapping them of course, still letting them lead the conversation, you are simply directing them to the point. Inform them you are asking questions to make sure you understand exactly what they need, and so that you can quickly eradicate the problem.
Let your customer state what they want.
“I understand that you’re dissatisfied. What would you like me to do to resolve this and win back your trust?”
Take the stress off of yourself. That way the only thing you have to think about is exactly what is said. No guessing.
I also suggest doing a follow-up email after your conversation. As confirmation of all the details and request made so if a problem arises again, it's in writing.
An angry customer can say some pretty hurtful things. It can be condescending or brutal, an attack on your business or you as an individual. The key is to not take it personally. Separate their words from the tone. In these situations reading between the lines is imperative. Instead of being hung up on their words, look for the root issue. Why are they reacting this way?Harping over anything an irate customer says is definitely a mood spoiler and counterproductive.
I am in no way saying that the customer is always right, and you are at fault. As a business owner, it's not about being right but making the situation right. Comfort your customer, let them know you understand and are actively rectifying the situation. The quote by the beautiful soul, Maya Angelou speaks to this perfectly.
"People will forget what you say, but they will always remember how you made them feel."
Then do what you promised. You can transform the explosive conversation with a customer into loyalty.
Resolution with a client is comprised of a quick turn around time, maintaining your smile, expressing your appreciation, and superb service.
6. Take Away.
Always ask what you can improve. It can be in the form of a survey or just a personal conversation. Make sure you are listening with the intent to apply this new information. Customers perspective is not only a refresher to our own but vital to your business. So always ask for feedback.
Always thank them for doing business with you as well as allowing you the opportunity to fix the problem. The truth is they could have easily taken their business elsewhere. So let them know how much you appreciate their time and understanding.
Now, of course, this doesn't apply to every situation. Some grievances are out of your realm of control and that's okay. It is better to start with these steps though and rectify your customer's concerns than to denote them. An unhappy customer has validity in their concerns, so try to remember to listen actively.
If you are interested in other ways to successfully deal with customers, here are 17 Ways to Deal With Unhappy Customers that will help.