HANDLING AN ANGRY CUSTOMER

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angry irate customer
Handling
angry customers can be one of the most challenging aspects of a job. Whether
they confront you face-to-face, or you speak with them over the phone, chances
are, you are going to be met with frustration, aggressive anger, and little
patience. The key to successfully managing an angry customer is to remain calm
always. Here are some tips on handling an angry customer;  
Remain calm and adjust your mindset. No
one likes to be confronted by a yelling person in public. However, your job is
to stay cool and collected when confronted with an angry customer. Resist the
urge to yell right back at them.  Yelling
and getting angry will only escalate the situation and may get you FIRED.
Instead, put on the best customer service attitude, you can muster, and buckle down—it
is time to get to work. Never adopt sarcasm or an obviously faked politeness or
you may fuel the customer’s rage and make the situation a whole lot worse.
 
Listen actively to what the customer
is saying.
 An angry customer generally just wants someone to express
their anger on. And you are the “lucky” one. That means, you need to do your
best to listen carefully to what they are saying. Give the customer your
undivided attention. Do not let anything distract you. Look at the speaker and
really listen to what he or she is saying. Listen and get answers to these
questions: What happened to make them upset? What do they want? What can you do
to help?
 
Separate your feelings from the situation. If the customer is particularly angry, he or she may say
something (or several things) that are really rude. Do not take it personal–he
or she is upset with the business, the product, or the service and not with you
as a person. Set your personal feelings aside.  Get a supervisor, if the
customer insist or is not satisfied with the way you have handled the
situation. Brief your supervisor properly of any situation before letting him
or her face the customer. Where an angry customer becomes physically threatening,
politely ask him to leave and if he refuses to, then let security know.
 
Repeat the customer’s concerns. Once a customer calms down, make sure you know exactly what it is they
are upset about. If you are still feeling a little unclear, repeat what you
think the customer is upset about, or ask him questions. Repeating the problem
back to the customer will show him that you were listening, and will also let
you confirm the problem that needs to be fixed.
 
Actively sympathize. Showing empathy will help make the customer understand that you
really are trying to help them. Once you have confirmed what the problem is,
show them that you feel really bad about it, and completely understand why they
are upset.
 
Apologize. Let the customer
know that you are genuinely sorry that this happened to them–regardless of
whether or not you think they are being a bit dramatic about the situation.
Along with empathizing, apologizing can go a long way. Sometimes upset
customers just want to have someone apologize to them for the bad service.
Hopefully, the customer will calm down a bit once you apologize on behalf of
the company.
 
Call your manager over if the customer asks you
to.
 If you are in the process of handling a
situation and the customer demands that you call your manager or supervisor
over, it is best to follow the wishes of the customer. However, if you can
avoid having to get your manager involved, do it. Handling a situation on your
own will show your supervisor that you have the capacity to deal with angry
customers in a calm and collected manner.
Pacifying the angry customer
 
Offer a possible solution (or solutions). Now that you know what the customer is upset about, come up with
a solution that resolves the problem. If you know a solution that will make
your customer happy, then present it to her.
 
Ask the customer for feedback. If you are not completely sure what would make your customer
happy, then simply ask her. What would she like to be done about the problem?
Is there an outcome that would make him or her satisfied? Say something like:
“What would you like to have happen? If it is within my power, I will see that
it gets done.”
 
Take action immediately. Tell your customer what you will do next to ensure that the
problem is resolved. Give her your contact information, particularly if you are
speaking with her over the phone, so that she can contact you if the problem
arises again.
 
Take some minutes to relax after the confrontation. Once your angry customer has left or you have hung up with her,
take a few minutes to process what just happened and allow yourself to calm
down. Even if the customer left happily, the situation could still have been really
stressful. Take a few moments to de-stress and clear your mind.
 
Follow up with the customer. Give your customer a call once the problem has been resolved. Ask
him if everything is going smoothly. When you can, go the extra mile by sending
a handwritten apology.

By Ishaq Makanjuola

 

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