Believe it or not, your customer isn’t going to be right every time. Sometimes people behave poorly in establishments just to try to get a discount. When you’re not going to be giving out discounts to everyone who complains you can find yourself with an irate customer on your hands and no way to deal with it. This situation assumes that the buck stops with you; whether you’re the manager, the owner, or you’re just the unlucky person who can’t call for help from the customer desk doesn’t matter. Here’s how you should respond to an angry customer in a simple three step process.
Explain Things CalmlyFirst of all, you should try to explain things calmly to your customer. There’s a good chance that what’s happening started as a misunderstanding. The customer didn’t understand that holiday gear can’t be returned after the holiday, or that the sale has already ended, or that they simply can’t get that product or item here. Whatever you’re dealing with, the first thing you should do is take a few deep breaths. Don’t stoop to their level by showing how upset you’re getting. Try to explain it. If they don’t understand, try again in different words. Ask what exactly they don’t understand, and if they repeat the same problem again and again you have to accept that you can’t win them all. In a perfect world all it would take is a sincere smile and a calming breath and before you know it all your clients would be calm and docile. In real life, sometimes they’re just going to keep getting mad and there’s nothing that you can do. Cut your losses and accept that sometimes you lose some.
Apologize That You Couldn’t Work It OutWhat you should always do to conclude your talk with an irate customer is apologize. Say that you’re sorry they are upset and you wish you could have found a better solution to their problem, but there doesn’t seem to be one. This is an interesting move in customer service because most customers expect to be listened to for as long as they want. They expect that you will stand there and take them yelling for as long as they like. By apologizing you’re bringing the discussion to a close without their initiating it. This might get them angrier, but you’ve already established that there’s nothing to be done by catering to them.
Monitor Your Online Reputation
Once an angry customer leaves you need to keep up your online surveillance. You can bet that there’s going to be an angry review popping up somewhere and you need to be able to do damage control on it. You don’t want one angry, irrational customer to ruin your otherwise good reputation. If you know that you could have helped a customer who was willing to compromise and be reasonable there’s no reason for you to put up with them damaging the one thing that your business relies on most: a good word of mouth reputation.