The customer is always right.
Who said that exactly? He/she didn't meet the grumpy old lady who came into the shop today. A menacingly, threatening-looking, black umbrella hooked onto one arm and a disgruntled expression that captured the black mole over her upper lip so well. Swinging the umbrella fiercely, she came, and knocked the glass figurine down on her way in, breaking it into a million little pieces. While Tony stooped down to clean the mess, she hit him on the shoulder and ordered him to get out-of-the-way. I stood behind the counter and waited for her to begin her assault. Assault is putting it mildly. She swung the umbrella into my face and made fists while she barked out her words. And all I could understand from her denture induced language was how she had ordered for a mushroom cake (who makes these?) and how she got a walnut cake instead. Try as I did to tell her that we did not sell any mushroom cakes and that she'd probably got the wrong shop, she would not let me talk. So, I had no choice but to wait for her to finish. Then I asked for the receipt. As it turned out, she'd got the wrong shop. On learning the same, she promptly turned around and walked out without so much as a sorry. And of course, she knocked Tony over a second time as she left. Aargh!
If you've dealt with angry customers in the scheme of your work, then you'll know just how frustrating it can get. But, cursing, answering back and giving them a piece of your mind means that you might as well kiss any future business from them goodbye. Not a good idea. So, what do we do then? We learn how to deal with angry customers so that the situation is brought under control. And must we do that? Yes, we must. For the continuation of business, and because we know that there are people with different natures in this world and we cannot have made to order customers who are all sugar and spice. So, learning to deal with them becomes imperative.
Dealing with Angry Customers (Face to Face)
A fuming, angry customer, spewing harsh language and bringing forth furrowed eyebrows is not something you'd readily want to deal with, and yet, at times, that is exactly what we have to do. So then let's make a great job of it, why not? The following are certain important tips and tricks that you can use for dealing with that angry customer.
Venting and Listening... Let them vent. Yes, we realize that it might not be your mistake and you might be thinking - why should I have to listen to it', but they don't know that. To them, you're a representative of the company and that's all. So, don't take it personally and let them vent. When they've vented, they'll feel better and will be in a more receptive mood of listening to what you have to say. So, no matter how unfair and frustrating it is for you - listen. This is one of the basics of good customer service.
Never Retort... Never, ever retort while they are complaining. This will get them more angry and they'll never be willing to concede because they'll take it as a personal insult.
Empathize and Console... Sorry seems to be the hardest word? Can't be helped. Nothing will bring about a more calming effect, any faster than a simple sorry. Validate their feelings by apologizing for what has happened and saying that you understand what they must have gone through. Then, go on to tell them that you'll do whatever is humanly possible for you to help them. Give them a list of solutions that will work.
Be Polite and Extend Help... Be very apologetic and in a polite manner, ask how you can help them. Understand what the problem was and try to rectify it in the best possible manner. Sometimes, you may not have the answers. Which is understandable. In this case, you should tell them that you'll get back to them after getting in touch with the concerned authorities. Assure them that this will not happen again. In case you're dealing with angry customers on the phone, then ask if you can record this conversation so that you can tell your staff about the same and prevent any such future mistakes from taking place.
Follow-up... This is a really important step and should not be forgotten. Following up after an incident like this will assure the customer that you are genuinely concerned and that you have their best interests in mind. Giving them importance will assure them of the fact that you really are apologetic for what happened and will not repeat the same mistake again.
The fact of the matter is, the customer felt cheated and wronged, and when you right that wrong and go the extra mile to ensure that the incident never repeats itself, the customer will come right back feeling validated and good. It's simple and it's strange. It's human nature. And if it means good business for you, why wouldn't you do it?