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How can I turn an angry customer into a loyal customer?

I do not deal well with confrontation. My first instinct when I get a customer complaint is to ignore it and let them go. (Terrible approach, I know!) This is something I need to work on, and the best way for me to do this is to face our angriest customers. We just launched and have had our ups and downs. Instead of letting those customers go, I want to turn their experience around. What's the best way to approach them and change their mind? Thank you!

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7

Becca,

I agree that it is more important to determine where the frustration is coming from with a customer problem. Often times if you are not dealing -- but customer service is dealing with an irate customer, by the time they reach you -- yes, they are irate. In any event the more you ignore a problem with a customer the worse it will get. You knew that already. I commend you for recognizing confrontation is not your strong point. However, admitting you have a problem is the first step. There are very few people, myself included, who shy away from confrontation.

The best way to deal with a customer with a problem is as soon as possible, be sure to hear them out thoroughly and determine the best steps to take to make that customer a happy customer. This will not work with ALL client problems, but I guarantee when customer issues are met head-on and quickly, discussed and corrected, you have a happy customer and you learn how to deal with the issue if arises again. It is a learning experience.

Remember to keep a record of all customer complaints/problems as it may be something within your company and your customer(s) are raising a red flag.

Good luck and God Bless!

April D Halliburton

7

I think the company you work for is blessed to have you on board, because although you don't enjoy confrontation, you still want to improve your customer's experiences. The thing is, no one enjoys confrontation. But usually, when a customer gets angry, it's not directed at you, but...you are the only person they can be angry with because you represent your company. Most of the time, customers get angry because of other stuff behind the scenes, like faulty processes. That is not your problem, but because you are there, in front of them, you get the brunt of it.

What is wonderfully fulfilling is turning an angry customer into a happy, delighted one.

All you need to do is put yourself in their shoes. What they really want is to know they are being heard and that the company is sorry. So here's how to handle it:

Look into their eyes. With great sincerity, acknowledge their feelings. E.g. "I can understand how angry that must make you".

Then apologize on behalf of the company.

Then do something to make amends. It is as this point that you have the opportunity to make a angry customer a delighted one. However, sometimes this part requires a customer-centric company because it may entail a cost. You need to either go out of your way to do something for the customer, and let them know, or you need to give them something of value to them.

Here's a scenario: you're at a restaurant. When you begin eating, you find a hair in your food. You call the waiter. If he is good, and if the company allows it, he will have the authority to make amends. How would you feel if he flippantly said, "oh sorry, I can bring you another one"? Or how would you feel if he looked you in the eye, and said, "I am so sorry about this. I will take your plate away immediately. Can I bring you another meal, and for the trouble, can we give you a free cup of coffee for you and your guest at the end of your meal? Or would you like a glass of wine on the house?"

In the one scenario, you would get angry. In the other, you would have felt heard, you would have a heartfelt apology, and you would be delighted that you get a free drink. And you would walk out of there happy and content.

Good luck!

Great response.

7

Hi Becca,
great insights here. I liked the structured approach by Anne. she put step-by-step method. Allow me to put my top tips:

1. the great news is you know your limitations. You are already changing your mind set about angry customers and customer complains. These are extremely beneficial feedback to you on areas need improvement. So after resolving the problem, make sure you review your business practices so t dosn't happen aain with customers.

2. Let the angry customer vent like a boiling pot. Nothing will appen before that. During the venting phase listen to understand and fre your mind from preparing any answer. Just put all your energy to listen. May be taking notes as well.

3. See what the customer want done, and what you can do. reach a middle ground or best possible solution. Then ask the customer upfront if this mishappening will prevent him / her from repeating business with you.

4. After solving the problem, follow up to make sure things are fixed and in place. Foloww up makes big difference. It shows you are. Keep connected with and ngage your customers to prevent them from going to competition.

Wish you all success.

6

Becca, try not to look at it as confrontation, rather a challenge that you can solve.
Be sure to focus on the challenge at hand and not on the person or their behavior as that is not the cause of the challenge.
Listen - quietly to what the person has to say and see the challenge through their eyes.
Empathize - recognize their feelings and let them know you understand how they feel.
Identify - the specific challenge with the person.
Ask - what would need to be done to make them happy.
Solve - the challenge by doing what needs to be done.
Apologize - and thank them for their understanding and wish them well.
This is a simple six step process and there are a variety of steps that will work. I would like to suggest you consider a step by step process and use it as a guide to follow when you have to solve challenges for your customers.
I think it would be a good idea to follow up a day or two later to make sure that everything is going well, this shows you care.
The last step is to see what you can do to make sure the same challenge does not come up again.
Remember your focus is to solve the challenge for them rather than focus on changing their mind.
Oh, and by the way, there are some customers you just cannot please and they are going to try to make your day miserable anyway. If you follow your steps and do what you can then so be it, you know you did your best. Sometimes it is good to lose a troublesome customer.

6

Address the ISSUE, not the anger. Let me give you a perfect example. Years ago a client providing temporary help got call from an angry ex-client who was screaming on the phone "I got this bill from you and I haven't done business with you in years..." and he kept screaming. Now what would you do? Ignore it? Panic and say you're sorry and that it will be fixed immediately?

Not my client. He responded "Oh, how come?"

It stopped the client dead in his tracks. "What do you mean how come?"

My client then asked why he hadn't done business with them in years. After a brief conversation he resolved the bill (a simple credit), resolved why he hadn't done business and got the client back. As my client said, resolving the bill is easy - somebody in accounting goofed. Getting the client back is more important.

So, LISTEN carefully. What is the real issue and how can you fix it. And always respond. I also learned to give out my home phone number as a comfort. In the decades that I have done that I have never had a client call at home!

What is you are selling? COMFORT. Here's an article I wrote for Gifts & Dec Magazine that has some tips: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/customer-service-real-solution-selling-george-matyjewicz-phd?trk=mp-reader-card

6

Good choice in making the decision to face them head on! First, find out why they are angry - just simply ask and allow them to express themselves. Apologize for whatever the situation or issue which is creating their unhappiness. Offer a solution to the customer if one is readily available. If not - then advise the customer that you would like - give a time frame - (10 minutes, 30 minutes or whatever you feel is necessary) to come up with a solution. Keep your word on the time frame. Customers can be very understanding when their issue is heard and some type of solution offered. Ask if the solution offered meets their resolution needs. Call a day later (if possible) to get the customer's "temperature" in regards to how they feel about your company. May I also suggest that you track the reasons that customers are angry. This will help in determining if there is a pattern to the reasons customers are angry. Hope this helps!

6

Sometimes there really isn't anything you can do about an angry customer except to let them vent at you. I took both sales and customer service calls at a call center for many years. The easiest ones just needed somebody to yell at, they were frustrated nobody seemed to listen. Once they were done venting, I might suggest ways to relieve their frustration. The most angry ones that seemed to have a legal case, I suggested contacting their lawyers and gave them a mailing address in which to send legal communications to. The vast majority of people were happy to have some kind of direction to go. We all want a product or service that works for us. Put yourself in their shoes – what would satisfy you?

Anonymous User
6

Hello,

The best way is to absolutely forget your ego and fear of confrontation and do everything in your powers to solve their problem. It's never too late to solve part of it at least, somehow, or reimburse the client with a discount or any addition or anything.

After that, wait for an appropriate period of time and follow up with them saying you just wanted to make sure it was all good at the end and that you'd be happy to offer them some kind of preferential conditions on your services in the future.

It doesn't work all the time, but it has worked around 80% of the time with me in turning unhappy clients in loyal clients, including with big corporations.

If you want more awesome business advice or have any questions, I'd be happy to help you with a free Business Breakthrough call, where you'll gain clarity o how to run your perfect business.

If you're interested, just message me here.

Warmest Regards,
Maya

6

Becca, I believe that the key is to listen, listen and listen again. You want to listen not only with your mind on your business, but listen as if you are in the customer's shoes. Try and understand what the real issue is with that customer. From there work on a way to settle the problem in a way that you are able to compromise with and then go a step beyond. I am not talking about giving a discount on a future purchase, but give something of value to ensure that your customer will be pleased. People tend to think of themselves, (me, my, I) and this is a time you cannot do that for yourself or your business, but instead appeal to what you can give your customer.

6

Two parts here.

First off, I don't think you're necessarily wrong to let some of these go. It's impossible to satisfy everyone and if you're making a product that requires any standardization at all, then inherently you're going to get some frustrated people who want the product just one level more customized. Also, you're probably interacting on the internet. You're going to get some unsolvable people.

Once you filter out some trolls, an angry customer can be a really valuable asset. You have someone who deeply wants to share with you why your product doesn't work. Especially when you're getting started, anger is definitely preferable to silence. That means someone saw your product, realized their need was going to be met, but then something happened along the way that soured the customer relationship. They may be angry, but they really just want to make things work.

The approach I would recommend would be first to resolve the issue. They came to you with a need and until you take the thorn out of the lion's paw, they're not going to be interested in working with you. Trying to go any other path without solving the problem will inevitably increase frustrations.

Once you've gotten there though, the best way to approach could be from a learning mindset. They have some insights that they want to pass on and you as a company need to hear them to make a better product. That's a great match! (Although it might not feel great). If you can get them on board with helping, teaching you how to fix the product for them and for others, this could have the potential to convert them into a satisfied customer.

I hope this helps! Best of luck with the customers and I hope they come around.

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