We’ve all heard the phrase “the customer is always right”. While this isn’t necessarily true, an angry customer can cause a lot of problems for your business. If they don’t feel like their problem is resolved they may attempt to damage your reputation online, which could lead to a drop in sales or even your business shutting down.
Thankfully it is possible to calm down an angry customer; you just need to know how to approach the situation. Here are four tips to help you deal with an angry customer.
1. How To Deal With An Angry Customer: Say Sorry
Even if you think that you are in the right, the best first step is to apologise for causing any distress. This will help to calm the customer down, making it easier to have a civil conversation. This can be tough if you are absolutely sure that the customer is in the wrong, but remember you’re not actually apologising for any wrong-doing; you’re simply apologising for causing the customer any stress.
2. Try Reflective Listening
When you ask the customer to describe the issue, make sure to listen clearly. It can be tempting to gloss over the issue quickly, but making the customer feel heard and understood will benefit you both. It can be useful to practise reflective listening, which is where you listen intently and then repeat the issue back for clarification. For instance, the customer might say “I’m angry that your prices have gone up recently. I can no longer afford to buy your products!”, and then you could respond by saying “I’m hearing that our pricing is an issue for you right now. Is that correct?”
Doing this ensures that there isn’t any confusion between the customer and the business owner, which will make it easier for you to offer solutions. At this point you shouldn’t promise to fix the issue (unless you are absolutely certain you can); your goal is just to make sure that you and the customer are on the same page.
3. Say Sorry Again
Once you fully understand the issue, you may want to consider apologising again. This apology is more specific, and it shows the customer that you understand and sympathise. For instance, you could say “I’m sorry our pricing system has changed. I can understand why this would be frustrating for you.” This can help to diffuse any remaining tension.
4. Offer A Solution
Finally we suggest offering the customer a solution. If they are worried about rising prices you could offer them a discount on bulk products, or you could offer them a loyalty card that gives them a free product after they make a certain amount of purchases. This should placate the customer without negatively affecting your business – and if the customer is genuinely happy with your response, you may actually turn an angry customer into a loyal customer!
As a business owner it is likely you will occasionally encounter angry customers. This is a normal part of owning a business, so don’t stress too much. Just deal with the issue peacefully and swiftly, and in most instances you should be able to resolve any problems.