Nobody enjoys dealing with angry clients, but it’s actually a normal part of running a business. Successful business owners learn that there’s often an opportunity to turn the customer’s negative experience into an opportunity – but only if you manage the situation correctly.
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Nobody enjoys dealing with angry clients, but it’s actually a normal part of running a business. Nobody’s perfect and you will slip up and disappoint a customer at some point.
The key is to handle the situation well, and to keep that customer. Successful business owners learn that there’s often an opportunity to turn the customer’s negative experience into an opportunity – but only if you manage the situation correctly.
Here are seven strategies to deal with angry clients:
1. Don’t take it personally
When you feel like you’re under attack, the first reaction tends to be going on the defensive, which is unhelpful and will only add to the client’s frustration. Try to remember that he or she is upset about what has happened – the experience of your product or service – and not with you as a person.
Related: How to keep customers coming back and repurchasing: Developing a back-end
2. Take the complaint seriously
It’s easy to assume that because a person is behaving badly that his or her complaint has no merit. But you may find that there is a useful insight behind the rage. Ask what’s caused the client’s anger and then dig deeper to understand how you or your company may have dropped the ball so that it doesn’t happen again.
This might mean changing the way you communicate product warranty parameters or relooking your sales script. An angry customer can teach you what you’re doing wrong, but you need to work out how to fix it.
3. Listen to the complaint
Often, an angry client just wants to vent and to be heard. Let them air their complaint without interrupting, making excuses or trying to explain before they are done. Once they have said what they want, summarise the key points to ensure you have understood correctly and ask any relevant questions. Never argue with the customer. Be sincere, respectful and understanding.
Make a genuine apology, not an excuse. You should be clear and straight forward – “I am sorry that you experienced this”. Don’t say, “I’m sorry, but...” That’s justifying or excusing what has happened and will just make the client even more livid.
5. Respond quickly
There is nothing more likely to inflame a client’s existing anger than the feeling that he or she is being ignored. Make sure that your complaints management process has been thought through and that you are able to respond immediately to client complaints, even if it’s through a series of communications as you work out a solution.
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6. Check that you have fixed the problem
You may assume that you’ve dealt with a client’s issue, but you need to verify that the client is satisfied with the solution provided. Simply saying something like “Is there anything else I can help you with?” gives the client a platform to either acknowledge the end of the complaints process or to request further attention if he or she believes the problem has not been fully addressed.
7. Keep track of feedback
By tracking customer complaints you can red flag issues that need attention (where the same problem keeps cropping up) and also protect your company from abuse (where the same clients complain over and over, with or without a real reason). Put a proper complaints process in place and train employees in recording and sharing feedback to ensure complaints are measured and dealt with promptly.