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8 Steps to Diffuse Angry Customers

& 5 types of Customers to look out for

8 Steps to Diffuse Angry Customers

Trevor No Comment


Dealing with angry customers is never pleasant, but how you deal with these situations will impact your business. You will either create a brand ambassador that will push your products and services to their friends because of the fantastic customer service they received, or create an incredibly displeased customer that will just speak awful things about the company every chance they get. Next time you get an angry customer, remember to follow these steps.

One: Remain Calm. Resist yelling back or being rude since there is nothing to be gained. It will only escalate and make the situation even worse.

Two: Don’t Take it Personally. The customer is dissatisfied with the product or service, and not with you. So remember: don’t take it personally.

Three: Listen. Brush up on your listening skills. Usually, angry customers are the result of faulty communications and misunderstandings. Do you best to listen and understand their complaint by allowing them to express themselves. Show that you were listening by summarizing what they have just said. Body language is also crucial during this time. Show that you are listening by keeping eye contact, and keeping your arms uncrossed (avoid coming off as defensive). 

Four: Sympathize. We’ve all been in a situation where we are not completely satisfied with the quality we’ve received, so show that you understand where they are coming from.

Five: Apologize. Regardless if the complaint is legitimate or not, retain the customer by providing an apology followed by a potential solution. Keep it professional by providing a straightforward response: “I’m sorry you are not satisfied with our product, let’s see what we can do to make things right”.

Six: Find a Solution. The customer is here because they expect some sort of solution to their complaints. So start by asking how the situation can be remedied, or offer some realistic solutions.

Seven: Unwind. After the situation has been diffused and resolved, take some time to yourself to unwind from the stressful situation. This will allow you to address the next unpleasant situation with the same positive attitude.

Eight: Follow Up. After the problem has been resolved take the time to follow up with the customer. A quick phone call or email can go a long way to show that you care, and it brings in loyal customers in the end.

customers yelling

Types of Customers

Not only is it important to know how to diffuse angry customers, it is also important to identify the type of customer, which in turn, will allow you to better address them. This study identifies the following types of customers:

The Meek Customer. The type of customer that generally does not complain even though there are dissatisfied with the service or quality of the product received. To get to the bottom of the problem, you must work hard at soliciting comments.

The Aggressive Customer. The complete opposite of the ‘Meek Customer’, this type of customer complains without restraint in a loud and lengthy manner. This type of customer doesn’t respond well to excuses or reasons why the produce or service was unsatisfactory, so focus on listening on the problem. When the person is done complaining, agree that the problem exists and offer a solution.

The High-Roller Customer. This is a VIP customer that expects the best and is willing to pay for it. Like the Aggressive Customer, the High-Roller has no interest in excuses, they just want to know how the problem will be remedied.

The Rip-Off Customer. This type of customer isn’t interested in resolving the issue but rather, getting something that they are not entitled to receive. If your efforts to satisfy this customer is met with constant and repetitive “not good enough”, then you know that you have a rip-off customer in your hands. When you deal with this customer it’s important to remain objective, and consider asking “What can I do to make things right?” after the first “not good enough” is expressed.

The Chronic Complainer Customer. Some people just like to complain and they are never satisfied (because there is always something wrong). However, this type of customer is still a customer, and they can’t be ignored or dismissed. When you deal with the Chronic Complainer you will require extraordinary patience. Listen carefully and don’t get angry (remember that it’s not personal), and offer a sincere apology. Unlike the Rip-Off Customer, this type of customer will generally accept and appreciate your efforts to make things right. This customer, really just wants an apology and appreciates sympathy. The plus side of this customer is that despite their complaining, they tend to be good customers and will often tell others about the positive response they received to their complaints.

Sources: Forbes, Business KnowHow, UFL

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