It’s okay: dissatisfied customers are a part of business life. Your response is everything, though, and a good response will make the difference between a good angry customer and a bad one. The fact is that you can turn an upset customer into an asset, and while it isn’t easy, it’s entirely worth it. An angry customer doesn’t have to be a bad customer, and sometimes when their friends and family ask about you, they won’t actually say anything bad – this is your goal. Here are a few ways you can reach that goal.

Remember That They Probably Have a Good Reason for Their Anger

Of course you didn’t do anything on purpose to upset your customer; we always strive to please everyone. However, sometimes we just can’t please everyone, and sometimes someone that represents your company makes a mistake. The response to this mistake can range from mild to irate, and anger is a common response to a mistake that inconveniences a customer. It’s likely that if you didn’t have the small business experience you have that you’d be upset over the mistake if it had happened to you, too, and even if you wouldn’t be, try to avoid evaluating the importance of the issue at hand and just remember that you’re not in their shoes. Maybe they feel something more than just the situation; maybe they feel like an otherwise trustworthy brand has betrayed them. Whatever the reason, remember that their anger is legitimate.

Don’t Get Angry Back

Sometimes angry people say some pretty difficult stuff to stomach, especially if you’re stressed or quick to anger yourself. It can be extremely hard to curb your tendency to get angry when someone is angry at you. However, once you shut off your tendency to get emotional, it’s much easier to listen to your customer’s issue and their emotion, too. This can help identify items that need attention as resolving the actual issue might be only part of the issue. So, for example, if an error occurred when your customer was downloading images of their baby’s first party, resolving the initial issue – the glitch – doesn’t fix the entire problem. Even if you can only say, “we can’t save your pictures,” that’s still better than ignoring the emotional issue entirely.

Patience is a Virtue

Sometimes someone just needs an ear. If someone is stressing about something and you’re at the receiving end of their complaint, sometimes they just need to talk it out. This can mean waiting until they’re done venting to really talk, so be it. Don’t interrupt, and just wait until there’s a pause so you know they’re done talking. Then start a conversation and talk about what’s going on in their head and help them solve the problem that way. Making people feel good emotionally, no matter why they’re angry in the first place, can leave them with a better impression of you and your company in the end.

After it’s all said and done, remembering that they’re angry for a reason, controlling your own emotions and exercising patience when a customer upset can turn a situation around. Sure, they might still leave your company or hate your service for failing when it did, but you can still turn their frown upside down with good diffusing skills.

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