Nobody likes dealing with angry customers, but the reality of your job as a customer service rep is that you will at some point in your career.
But that doesn’t mean you have to take your customer’s anger with your head buried in the sand. Use these five tips from Lynne McClure’s article "Handling Angry Customers" to keep your customer’s anger -- and your own frustration -- at bay:
1. Reiterate your customer’s problem. When you take the time to paraphrase your customer’s problem back to him, you’ll gain your customer’s confidence that you really do want to understand his problem. This will also allow for clarification, says McClure. You might even lower your customer’s anger level just because he feels like someone is listening to him.
2. Validate your customer’s anger. When you let a customer know you agree he has a right to be angry, it shows him that he matters to you. Using affirmative statements like, "You have every right to be angry," validates your customer’s problem. His anger will subside even more as he realizes you are taking him seriously. But avoid statements that shift the focus away from the customer, such as, "I would be angry too," warns McClure.
3. Focus on a solution. Do your best to find an amicable solution for both you and your customer. Even within the limited confines of your company’s policies, do your best to offer your customer a couple of options he can choose from to make amends for his inconvenience. For example, you could ask him if he would prefer a refund or a service extension. This will help keep the customer from blaming you for the problem, suggests McClure.
4. Ask for follow-up. When you ask a customer to call you directly to verify when his problem resolves -- or if it doesn’t -- you’re assuring him that you will follow through to the end. This will give him confidence in you and restore his confidence in your company.
5. Thank your customers. Always thank your customer for bringing his problem to your attention. This will validate to your customer that you appreciate his business. "This step closes the transaction on an upbeat note for both the employee and the customer," notes McClure.