Handling Angry Customers
Angry and difficult customers are a challenge that every entrepreneur will face. When your time comes, will you be ready? This article explains how to deal with angry customers.
Small business owners know that angry customers are an unavoidable part of doing business. Sooner or later, you are going to encounter people who are not happy about some aspect of their relationship with your company.
But an angry customer isn't necessarily a former customer. In fact, the majority of angry customers will continue to do business with you, especially if you go the extra step to provide a satisfactory resolution to their problem.
Here are some simple things you can do to train your staff to deal with angry customers and keep them coming back for years to come.
Resolve the Problem Quickly
No one likes to be ignored, particularly if they have a problem. The worst thing you can do when dealing with angry customers is to put off their complaint or send them on a wild goose chase to find someone who will help them. Respond promptly to their concerns and let them know that helping them is your top priority.
Don't Take It Personally
Emotions run high in situations involving irate customers. Even though the problem may have been out of your control, the customer will likely focus his frustration toward an employee because at that moment the employee represents the company. Avoid the temptation to take the complaint personally. Instead, try to diffuse the emotion of the moment by remaining calm and responding in a reasonable manner.
Admit Your Mistakes
If you or a member of your staff has made a mistake, admit it. Nothing gets accomplished by trying to maintain the appearance of perfection. The customer just gets more frustrated and angry than they already are. Sometimes simply admitting a mistake will be enough to satisfy the customer and resolve the problem.
Be Nice, But Firm
It's good business to always maintain an attitude of courtesy and respect toward your customers, even when they are treating you badly. But being nice doesn't mean that you have to always give in, either. Instruct your employees how to be polite to difficult customers while being firm about your company's policies.
Support Your Employees
Your employees need to know that you will stand behind them when they are placed in the difficult position of dealing with an irritated customer. Nothing is more demoralizing for an employee than watching their employer take the customer's side against them, especially if they are enforcing the policies you have laid down for them.
Make a Peace Offering
If all else fails, make a peace offering in the form of a minor concession or free merchandise. This doesn't have to be expensive. For example, when restaurants encounter angry patrons it's not unusual for them to offer a free dessert or appetizer to diffuse the situation. The majority of angry customers just want to feel valued. A peace offering communicates that they are important to you and that you are willing to do what it takes make things right.
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