One of the most difficult situations we come across in business, is the “angry customer”. We want nothing more than to slap this person and send them on their way. Please resist this urge as it’s not worth losing that customer or going to jailJ Seriously, fighting will just make the situation worse and you could lose the customer or even lose many customers.
Understanding where that anger comes from will help you avoid being sucked into a fight with a customer. Psychologists say that anger is not a primary emotion. Anger usually comes from fear or a feeling of hurt. Once you realize that yelling and strong words come from fear or hurt then you can figure out how to calm that customer down.
If a friend came to you upset and in tears, what would you do? Would you yell at them or kick them? No, you would sit there and listen to them and validate them. Even if they aren’t right in what they are saying, they just want to be heard and validated. Try to remember this when dealing with an angry customer.
So if you remember that anger is a fight or flight emotion and that fighting back will not work, you will be able to handle the angry customer in way that is not confrontational. Remember their anger is not personal, they are afraid or hurt.
When you listen, validate, and talk calmly, and once the customer has calmed down, you can resolve the problem and calm their emotional state. When you take care of their emotional need, you will form a bond to that customer that will be hard to break. Their confidence and trust in you will grow tremendously and you just may have that customer for life. All it takes is a little understanding and you can turn an angry client into a loyal customer.
David Corbin says
This is great stuff and I wish that all supervisors and managers would take notice of this.
The process that we’ve found very useful is what we call “Accentuate the Positive and Illuminate the Negative’. We think that it’s important to contemplate all of the things that our customers appreciate about us- capture them in writing and then celebrate and ACCENTUATE them. Then, we do the other side of the ledger and take inventory of what we’ve found our clients to dislike about our service or product deliverables. This is where there are acres of diamonds below our feet. This is the motherload of value because when we Accentuate the Positive we can feel good enough to begin to Illuminate the Negative. This is a 3 step process as I’ve been doing it with clients over the last 20+years and capture in my new book, Illuminate: Harnessing The Positive Power of Negative Thinking (wileyandsons).
Face it, Follow it and Fix it.
When we face the areas that we are not up to par on, then and only then, can we begin to get better.
Follow it involves an inquiry as to where this information is coming from, who is it affecting, how is it affecting them, what’s keeping it alive etc etc. Then, and only then, can we begin the process of Fixing it- and that can involve reducing the forces in place, removing them, etc.
Hope this adds value to y’all. Keep on doing good stuff!
You are so right by saying that anger comes from fear or hurt because most of the time, customers are angry because they are afraid of losing their money, especially with all of the economic issues lately!
You’ll be suprised at what some angry cusomters will do. Some will try tell to convince their friends and relatives to never shop at the place again.
Other more tech-savy ones will go online and write about their negative experience on as many consumer websites they can find.
.-= [email protected]´s last blog ..Chamonix =-.
Joe C says
Great post! Its easy as you say to just get annoyed with a customer that is angry and just won’t go away. Been listening to some interesting audiobooks lately which even mentioned this approach taken by some of the biggest companies out there… basically ignore them and think they will go away. In this digital age its becoming not an option for businesses to just bury their head in the sand, as a disgruntled customer can spread their bad feeling far and wide on blogs and forums where they can be heard by all your potential customers. Theres even been cases of blogs started by disgruntled customers gathering so much momentum they end up ranking as high as the companys website for their brand name! Imagine how that would look to your customers to see below your brand name customer after customer report of how you gave them a poor service…. not a great ad for your business! Working to get to the root of the problem as you mention and resolving it can actually win the customers heart and with it… their friends and network. Imagine rather than a customer broadcasting how your service is poor and you don’t listen to, they broadcast to their friends and network how you were big enough to admit mistake and did over and above expectation to ensure they were satisfied…