Angry customers are never dishonest. They have no reasons to flatter you, follow your wishful thinking, and chase shadows. Unhappy customers who are seeking your support seem to be the most sincere clients you can ever find. Appreciate each of them as a real catch.
Indeed, dealing with difficult customers is a tough challenge for any customer support manager. It requires some basic knowledge of how to resolve conflicts. Besides, a specific zen-like mindset never hurts to stay calm in a stressful conversation. Remember, nobody is born a great communicator but everyone can learn how to deal with unhappy customers fruitfully.
Every customer is just a human being like you and me. Human reactions to negative situations are typical. The fact that we all are social creatures means that we always can find a mutually acceptable solution to whatever problems might arise. What is needed for it is just keeping in mind some useful tips and tricks enabling you to follow a simple algorithm of actions, that is to say, some sort of mental script that helps you turn an unhappy customer into a regular one.
Before getting practical suggestions on how to handle a difficult customer, focusing on some business fundamentals wouldn’t go amiss.
After refreshing some business fundamentals, it is time to get to the behavioral patterns that can help your staff cope with the majority of customer complaints. The basic principles on how to deal with difficult customers aren’t too numerous, there is a handful of general rules you should follow. We are not going to repeat various psychological truisms such as “be patient”, “stop arguing from the beginning”, and “don’t promise more than you can keep”.
Any more or less rational person knows that staying calm and polite is a must when you communicate with upset clients. Even newbies in customer support understand that any dispute is worthless since the customer is always right. That’s why we will focus on some specific suggestions that are hard to find in conventional wisdom.
Your angry customer is a human being who is suffering from something related to your product/service right now. You will never be able to solve the problem without feeling the pain your customer feels. You can ignore the problem, refuse it, but never solve it. Any simulacrum is a fake solution. That’s why it is crucial to switch on your empathy and put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Try to imagine that the unhappy customer’s need is your own need. After that, evaluate a possible balance between the problem and your capabilities for setting things up.
It might look like a sacrifice from your side at first but don’t jump to conclusions. A mutually acceptable compromise instead of your sacrifice can appear after a while. Remember that handling unhappy customers is a big deal for your business. Don’t react spontaneously, make a pause. Try to divide the problem into several parts, if possible. Make a small concession with regard to one of the parts to show your customer that you share his/her pain. Do your best to make your customer accept it. Further on, it will be much easier for you to convince the customer that you are not omnipotent to fulfill any desire.
Even if you are willing to wholeheartedly accept the problem of your unhappy customer nothing guarantees that you are able to solve it. And the first reason lies in a lack of objective information about the case. When dealing with upset customers you should remember that not every person can reveal everything relevant to some negative experience. Natural shyness, time constraints, and even ignorance of some basic features of your product/service all can prevent your customers from a comprehensive description of their problems.
A hidden aspect of the situation might not be worth a damn. But with equal probability, it might be crucial for your entire business. Don’t expect that your angry customer is an expert in the matter. You are the one. Investigate everything around your customer’s complaint. Recognize a full picture of your customer’s dissatisfaction. Only precise knowledge of each case enables you to transform unsatisfied customers into loyal ones finally.
The way to reach your customer support via phone calls, emails, or an online chat can not be the easiest one for your unhappy customers. A really angry person can hardly be ready to listen to merry melodies while waiting on hold. Typing extensive texts in emails seems not a better option as well. Even the most advanced web extensions for recordable voice messages can not be a silver bullet in every case. What if WhatsApp is the most accustomed communication channel for your angry customer?
Popular messengers such as Telegram and Viber are not always in the scope of customer-support channels at many companies. How would you handle dissatisfied customers without providing them with the easiest way of communication? The more communication channels you use the larger your chance to be heard appears for your customers. The very availability of multiple communication channels shows that you prioritize customer support. All popular communication solutions are easily integrable into your website or applications. Add them to put another coin to your karma bank.
Customer support by definition is the element of your business that plays for your clients. But dissatisfied customers usually believe that any support staff must protect the brand by all possible means. And conceptually this is true. But what the majority of complaining clients do not expect is the way you can protect your brand. Surprise your unhappy clients by showing them that the protection of your brand is not a standoff with customers. Impress them with your generosity.
If a refund is applicable add something extra to it. Even a tiny bonus compensation can play a huge role in customer satisfaction. Even the angriest customer can be disarmed by a personal call from either a CEO or whoever else from your top management. People like to feel they are special. Let them go on believing it. Doing more than expected is one of the most effective tactics of how to handle a customer complaint.
What should we all do to transform a dissatisfied customer into a promoter of our brand? This question must permeate all levels of a corporate structure from a junior support operator to a general manager. Since no single answer to this question is possible, a special strategy for handling unhappy customers is to be developed. Making a list of possible measures is never sufficient: cases vary, customers are different, and any formalized one-fits-all solution is just a palliative.
The customer support strategy is aimed at harmonizing all former experiences achieved with successful solutions and the ever-changing challenges coming continuously from your customers. Only a well-conceived support strategy can allow you to count on some sort of automation of customer care. This is a combination of a highly-personalized approach to each particular customer and a day-to-day workflow of your customer support department.
Dealing with unhappy customers goes easier when the entire staff is aware of the significance of customer support for your brand. Do your best to study your customers via their complaints. Try to grasp what they need from a humane perspective. Facilitate sending their feedback through multiple communication channels. Always do a little bit more than your unhappy customers might expect. Prioritize customer care by the creation of a corporate customer-support strategy.
Efficient dealing with difficult customers is not as tough as it may seem. However, you need to arrange appropriate workflows for your fully-fledged customer care department. If such an opportunity is beyond your actual capabilities, the best solution would be to outsource your customer support to a professional contact center whose only business is to make your customers happy. Contact us today if you need an experienced partner with strong expertise in customer care.
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