No matter how hard you try to please your customers, you’ll have to deal with an angry one at some point. You could hang up on the person or tell him to leave, but you’ll surely lose his business forever. Why not take the other approach and save the customer’s business? The customer is going to buy again from someone, and it might as well be you.
Here are some ideas on how to handle angry customers:
- Let them vent and get it all out so you know what you’re dealing with. Don’t offer any solutions until you know the entire situation. Don’t interrupt them; just listen.
- Apologize for the problem but don’t accept any fault at this point, especially if you weren’t there when the problem occurred.
- Ask questions to help you understand what the problem is. Go over the problem from beginning to end and learn all the facts.
- Empathize—show them that you know how they feel and can see their point. Let them know you will try to offer a resolution as quickly as you can—and then do it.
- Don’t argue with them. It will get you nowhere at this point. Regardless of who you think is right or wrong, you want to save them as customers.
- Thank them for bringing the matter to your attention. Assure them that you’re working on the resolution. If you can’t offer an immediate resolution, make sure you have their contact information.
- Offer a solution and see whether it’s satisfactory for them. Or, you might offer two or three choices from which they can select. You want customers to be comfortable with any solution.
- Do what you promise and follow up to make sure the customer is satisfied with the final situation. If you delegate the solution, stress that it’s to be handled cheerfully and then check to make sure it was. You don’t want the solution to become another problem.
- Let customers know that they can contact you directly at any time and that you appreciate their business.
These steps won’t work in every instance, but they should resolve many situations and save those customers. When you consider the long-term value of a customer, a little setback now seems insignificant. After a problem is resolved, discuss it with your employees so they will know how to handle a similar situation if it arises again. You don’t want the same problem to happen again if you can avoid it.