Angry customers are a normal encounter for all who work in industries as people are served to satisfaction. Of course, as you can see, there are those who aren’t quite met with said satisfaction. How shall we respond to these angry customers? Or better yet, how shall we not respond? Here we have the top 6 things that you should never do when you encounter agitated customers.
Top 6 Things You Shouldn’t Do With Angry Customers
- Don’t make threats. – If you’ve ever said things like “I won’t help you if you won’t calm down” or “I will have no choice but to terminate this phone call if you keep yelling at me”, your intent was probably just to gain control over the conversation. The thing is, what you see as an act of peace is an act of threat in the eyes of the angry customers. It will definitely not encourage them to back down, let alone calm down. Instead, say things like “I really want to help you, but your tone is making it hard for me to do that.” and leave a couple of seconds for your angry customers to process what you said.
- Don’t argue. – keep in mind that you will and can never win an argument against a customer. Even though proving your point and having the last say are possible, your argument becomes futile against angry customers. As Dale Carnegie once said, “you may be right, but as far as changing your customer’s mind is concerned, you will probably be just as futile as if you were wrong”. In your encounter with mad customers, your main aim is to retain the customer and not be right. You may win the argument, yes – but you may as well have lost your customer in the process. We are always encouraged by Carnegie to process a few questions carefully before we respond to angry customers.
- Will my reaction relieve the problem or the frustration?
- Will my reaction drive my customer away?
- What price will I pay if I win (the argument)?
Carnegie suggests that the only way to get the best out of an argument is to avoid it. – not win it. Remember that angry customers who are aggravated by you are most likely to spread negative word-of-mouth advertising to 50 people. You wouldn’t want that.
- Don’t hang up on the customer. – It may sound conservative for you, but I will stand firm on this one. Hanging up on already angry customers will, while sparing you from any further contact from them, only aggravate the situation. Don’t think that mad customers will let go of the fight just because you chose to hit the flash button. No, they’re bound to call back and – you guessed it – they become even angrier than they were earlier. Not to mention doing this will cost far more in time and money than it would have if you didn’t hang up on them. You can’t handle the angry customers? Offer to refer them to another co-worker or a supervisor instead.
- Don’t make your customers feel helpless. – Employees who say “this is all I can do” make me cringe. When these customers feel helpless, chances are that they’ll let out what they feel through yelling at you, starting a blog about (and against) your company, and perhaps demanding to speak to a supervisor. Instead, say something like “Mr. Bryant, what I can do is…?”. That’s sure to change the entire tone of their tough situation.
- Don’t raise your voice. – If you want your angry customers to calm down, don’t yell at them. If I wanted my five-year-old daughter to use her “inside voice”, I wouldn’t yell, “LAUREN, USE YOUR INSIDE VOICE!”. I would speak with an “inside voice” as well, and wait for her to mirror the tone of my voice naturally until she won’t need any further prompting. When encountering demanding and angry customers, I suggest you use the same technique. Raising your voice will incite and upset your customer rather than calm them down. Doing this presents you as confident, in control, and credible. This will intimidate angry customers because they’ll realize that their yelling tactic doesn’t intimidate you at all. When dealing with these customers, try using these statements with your lowered voice: “What can I do to help?” or “What can I do to fix this situation?”.
- Don’t tell angry customers they’re wrong. – Be smart enough to never tell these customers that they’re wrong or mistaken. This will arouse opposition and make them want to battle you even more. It’s like telling your spouse they’re wrong. It’s given that changing other people’s minds is different, so make things easier by not starting out on the wrong foot. Instead of contesting your customers for their wrongs, respond with “I thought the contract read otherwise, but let’s take a look.”
Never forget these six don’ts the next time you realize you’ve turned into a target of verbal abuse from angry customers. Comply and you will be able to gain control of the conversation and effectively resolve all problems you’re bound to encounter with your agitated customers.