- We strive for 100% customer satisfaction.
- Unfortunately, regardless of how good our product or service is, we’ll still have an unhappy customer from time to time.
These are two things all business owners and customer-service professionals know to be true. The question is: How do you turn those unhappy customers into happy customers?
First of all, it helps to remember that their anger is not directed at you personally. The customer may have had a month-long string of service outages and this is his first time calling, or she’s had other bad customer-service experiences (with your company or another company), or maybe he’s simply having a bad day. Unfortunately for you, you’re the target of all that frustration and anger.
The good news is that there are many things you can do to make angry customers happy again—and maybe even turn them into better customers than they were before. Here are some things you can do to turn your angry customers into happy ones.
Practice active listening Active listening is an important skill for anyone working in the customer-service industry. Active listening requires you to really engage with what your customers are saying and repeat their statements back to establish clarity. Remember, it can be especially difficult to communicate when you’re angry, so listen carefully to your customers and ensure that you are on the same page before offering any feedback.
Apologize and accept responsibility
Two things that you absolutely must be willing to do on a regular basis when you work in customer service are apologize and accept responsibility. You’re probably not at fault but simply getting an apology can make all the difference in the world to an angry customer, so be ready to offer one and move toward a solution.
Showing empathy for what your customers go through is a powerful way to show that you care about their thoughts and experiences. In many cases, a little empathy will immediately begin to dissolve a customer’s anger, which in turn will allow you to identify the best course of action and move toward progress.
Remain calm and in control
It’s crucial that you remain calm and in control when you’re dealing with angry customers. It may be challenging to remain calm and polite, but giving in to the impulse to respond with anger will only make things worse. Remaining cool, calm, and in control will make it easier to figure out what steps to take to solve the problem. And, once everything has been sorted out, the customer will appreciate your patience and grace under pressure.
Use positive language
Positive language is a great way to shift the energy in a hostile situation. Using words that are positive and constructive, rather than abrasive, hostile, or confrontational, can reduce conflict, improve communication, and reduce defensiveness.
One simple thing that differentiates between competent customer-service providers and those that are truly outstanding is the follow-up. When you follow up with a customer, it shows you truly cared about helping them solve their problem and that you’re willing to go the extra mile to make sure that they’re satisfied with the resolution. In many cases, this small extra effort can transform a once angry customer with zero intention of returning to your business into a long-term loyal customer.
Keep in mind that there may still be times when you’ve implemented all these tools and your customer is still angry. Here’s another universal truth: Some customers will be difficult no matter what you do. Helping customers is your job—your attitude should always be that you’re available to help as much as you can. You’ll never be able to make everyone happy, but you can certainly try.