Dealing with angry customers

Customers get angry for a variety of reasons—some justified, some not. But since it's your job to serve your customers and give them the best service, you'll likely encounter rude or angry people at one time or another. Your response can make the difference between a customer who is satisfied with the decision and one who vows never to do business with you again.

Inside the Angry Customer Mindset

Understanding is the first step in dealing with anything. So let's take a closer look at what's going on inside an angry person's head. Why do we get angry at all?

According to the recalibration theory, anger is a "bargaining emotion." They arise when we are faced with a situation that we consider unfair. We get angry and show the "face of anger" (thinned eyebrows, thin lips, flushed nostrils) to warn, or threaten, the unfair party we won't let go.

By presenting the potential violence costs of the situation, anger leads us to a better bargaining position.

Molly Edmonds explains the physical anger reaction. Anger is a stress reaction, and it pushes us into fight or flight mode. Adrenaline and norepinephrine are at the beginning of the rush through the body. The amygdala, the part of your brain that deals with emotions, senses the madness — which prompts you to do something.

Most of us, however, wouldn't start a fight with that guy cut in line at the grocery store cashier. It's another physical reaction to anger that blocks us: increased blood flow to the frontal lobe above the left eye, which controls our thinking. The hyperactive amygdala and logic tend to balance each other out fairly quickly. So even though you feel fired, there is a rational voice telling you: "It's not worth it..."

The angry clients who engage are those who jumped into action before regaining their mental equilibrium, or those who made a calculated decision that they could only solve their problem if they dealt with some force.

Less than 4% of angry customers will let you know. 96% of them will not share their anger with you, and 91% will never return (Source: Robbie Newell-Legner). This is important to achieve. Your angry customers are a source of learning, and an opportunity to make things right.


  • Stay calm:

When a client begins to yell or otherwise get agitated, nothing can be gained by responding in a similar way. In fact, the situation is likely to escalate and lead to more problems. Keep your cool and be more in control of the situation, even if the client's sense of momentum makes you feel like you're yelling at yourself.


  • Don't take it personally:

Remember, the customer is not angry with you, they are upset with the performance of your product or the quality of your service. Your personal feelings have nothing to do with the situation or your work in general, so any insult the client abuses you with is not intended to harm you as a person, but in fact the center of tension in the situation is that the results obtained by the client are not satisfactory because they did not meet his expectations It is possible if you are you Personally, in the same situation as the client, to think in the same way as thinking.


  • Use your best listening skills:

The first thing an angry customer wants is to vent. To do that, he needs someone to listen to him — and for better or worse, you are that person. Patient listening can defuse the situation, as long as the client feels acknowledged in their complaint. Hear him when he speaks, summarize what you heard, and ask any questions to clarify his grievance. Body language can be very important here. Keep eye contact. Stand or sit up straight. Keep your arms unrestricted. Show how closely you care about their problem.


  • Effectively empathize with the situation:

After the client has finished explaining his problem, he wants to know that you understand where he is coming from and how he feels. Express sympathy for an unpleasant customer experience. Respect and understanding go a long way toward smoothing things out.


  • Repeat their complaints:

Once you've finished explaining why they're angry, repeat their complaints until you're sure you're dealing with the right issue. If you need to, ask questions to make sure you have correctly identified the problem.

Use calm and objective wording. For example, "As I understand it, you are quite upset that we did not deliver the samples we were promised last week."
Repeating the issue shows the customer you've been listening, which can help lower anger and stress levels. More than that, it helps you to agree on the problem that needs to be solved.


  • Take notes:
Customers are more likely to share their stories in a matter-of-fact and rational way if they know they are "on the record," so to speak. Taking notes serves two purposes in this case: It allows service professionals to keep a solid account of what customers share, and it reminds customers to slow down and get their facts straight.


Address it like, "This is important for me to get exactly what you said, and I don't want to miss anything. So I'm taking notes. Then I'll read it back to you to make sure I understood what you said."


  • Sincerely apologize:

Whether or not a customer's complaint is legitimate is really irrelevant. If you want them to remain customers, you need to apologize for the problem they are having (or imagine there is). Often a simple, direct statement is needed: “I'm sorry you're unhappy with our products. Let's see what we can do to get things in the right context.” But your apology is about
The problem itself is the first stage of solving the problem facing the customer.


  • Work on adjusting your mindset:

Once you realize that your customer is unhappy, your priority is to put yourself into a customer service mindset.

This means that you set aside any feelings you may have that the situation is not your fault (don't take it personally), that your customer made a mistake, or that he or she is giving you unfair criticism.

All that matters is that you understand that your client or customer is upset and that it is up to you to resolve the issue. Adjust your mindset so that you give 100 percent of your focus to your customer and the current situation.


  • provide the solution:

Now you need to offer them a solution. There are two ways to do this.
If you feel that you know what makes your customer happy, tell them how you would like to rectify the situation.

You could say, “I know you need these samples by tomorrow to show your customers. I will be calling our other customers to see if they have extras they can cut, and if they do, I will drop them off at your offices no later than 5:00 pm this evening.” "

If you're not sure you know what your customer wants from you, or if they resist the proposed solution, give them the power to work things out. Ask him to identify what makes her happy.

For example, you could say, “If my solution doesn't work for you, I'd love to hear what would make you happy. If I can, if not, we can work on another solution together.”


  • Constantly trying to find a solution:

Once you understand why the customer is unhappy and dissatisfied with the solutions you propose to solve the problem, it is time to offer more than one alternative solution. Ask him what he feels needs to be done or bring up your fair and realistic answer to the problem. In most cases, this is all that the customer is looking for and may provide some measure of satisfaction.


  • Never say "no"
The counselor should never use the word "no" (including its forms - "it is not possible", "it cannot be done", "we do not have", etc...). The client on the other side of the line expects to hear what the consultant can do to solve their problem, not what is not possible!
  • Be patient:

It always pays to be patient in any business. Although it is not easy to control one's emotions when a customer is angry in their behavior, you have to remain professional and cooperative to be successful. Being patient with your clients and yourself will go a long way in winning over hostile clients.


  • Be positive in your approach:

Even in the worst of circumstances, try to overcome all negative tendencies and adopt a positive approach and positive mindset. This will also help you manage your stress effectively so that you don't feel anxious about a customer's hostile attitude. You should be gentle with yourself and try to assert your point of view without in any way offending your client's feelings.


  • Take action and follow up:
Once both parties (the customer and you) have agreed to a solution, you need to take action immediately. Explain each step you take to fix the problem to your customer.


If he has contacted you by phone, make sure he has your name and contact details. This gives him a sense of control because he can hold on to you again if he needs to.

Once the situation is resolved, follow up with your client over the next few days to make sure they are happy with the decision. Whenever you can, exceed his expectations. For example, you can send him a gift certificate, give him a deep discount on his next purchase, or send a handwritten apology.


  • Take a few minutes alone:
After the situation has been resolved and the customer is on their way, it's helpful for you to take your own "time out." Even if you have handled the situation in the most professional manner possible, it is still a stressful experience. Instead of letting that tension sit inside of you, take a short walk, treat yourself to a snack, or find someone to talk to who makes you laugh. You will be ready to connect again with your customers.


Or if the nature of your work does not give you this space for venting, then you may or may not be satisfied with practicing deep breathing exercises only to release negative energy outside the body and to be able to work again.


  • Use feedback:
Your final step is to reduce the risk of the situation happening again. If you haven't already, determine how the problem started in the first place. Was there a bottleneck that slowed shipping? Did the salesperson forget to confirm the order?


Find the root of the problem and make sure you fix it right away, then consider using the feedback to continue improving your work practices. Also, make sure that you are managing complaints and feedback effectively so that you can improve the way you do things.


  • Make suggestions to management:
If there is a recurring problem, rather than just dealing with it each time, try talking to management about improving processes so that the problem is reduced in the future.


Other tips:

  • It is important to handle customer anger professionally. Learning how to stay calm and how to stay calm under pressure can help you navigate difficult situations with honesty and professionalism.
  • If your customer is particularly angry, speak slowly, and calmly, and use a low tone of voice. This will subtly help reduce tension, making sure you don't escalate the situation by being overtly pressured or trying to piss you off personally.
  • If your customer has sent you a difficult email or is angry with you on the phone, suggest that you meet with someone if you can address the issue. Not only will this reduce anger (because it's hard for most people to show their anger face to face), but it also shows that you really want to address the situation and fix it.
  • If you feel that your customer is not easy to deal with, you may start to get upset, especially if he or she criticizes you, or your organization, unfairly. So learn anger management skills so that you can stay calm in these situations.
  • At times, a customer or client may become abusive towards you or your team. Know in advance what you will tolerate, and what you will not accept. If things escalate, you may need to be firm and stand up for yourself, or even walk away from the situation to give the client time to calm down.
  • The people on your team may be on the "front line" when it comes to dealing with angry customers. Make sure they know how to properly engage in emotional labor. (This means that they must know how to manage their emotions when dealing with angry people.)
  • Work on improving your conflict resolution skills. These skills can help you if you need to negotiate with clients.


The main points

  • Dealing with angry customers can be a challenge. But if you handle the situation well, you may be able to improve your relationship and create more opportunities.
  • Make sure that you listen carefully to his problems, and that you try as hard as you can to stop or fix the problem right away. Be sympathetic and understanding, and make sure your body language conveys this.
  • If you are not sure how to fix the situation, ask your customer what would make them happy. If you can, do it as soon as possible. Follow up with your customer to make sure they are satisfied.


References and Where to Learn More

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