One of the biggest challenges entrepreneurs face is the acquisition of customers so it makes sense that when you get a customer, you want to keep them for as long as possible. Dealing with their concerns quickly is essential if you do not want to keep finding new customers every other day. Going a little bit above and beyond the call of duty will help people feel great about doing business with you. However there are times when it does not work and you have an irate customer on your hands. Here’s how you could deal with it.
1. Have an open environment
Customers may feel a little worried that you will not believe them or you will get annoyed with them and therefore take their business elsewhere, rather than have the conversation with you. To pre-empt customers getting angry and not telling you about it, try to always ask them how they felt about doing business with you. Do this as close to the transaction as possible.
When speaking to a customer, listen in without interrupting. Do not just hear them while waiting for an opportunity to explain. Let them talk and complete their explanation, gather all the facts, and do not tell them to calm down if they are annoyed.
You may not completely agree with the customer but you can agree that they felt annoyed by the treatment they received and you can help them see that you do care about them and the fact that they feel the way they feel.
Take a moment to feel what you would feel in their shoes.
Start to think through solutions that will make them feel better. Ask for their input – show them that you are trying to find a way for them to feel great about working with you again in the future as well as ensuring they leave this encounter feeling great.
Explain clearly what you will do and who is involved and when they can expect to hear from if it is not immediate.
5. They may be wrong
Even if it becomes obvious that it has nothing to do with you, be empathetic and explain calmly an alternative way of looking at the issue. If you can make a goodwill gesture anyway, then do so. Allow the customer to save face and do not get annoyed with them. At least, not to their face!
Ultimately, keep them informed as to the progress of any work on their complaint so they do not feel forgotten. Irate customers happen from time to time and not always for sensible reasons but you can stay calm and try to help the customer leave your business feeling better than they came in.