If you are a customer service representative, or have to deal with customers on a regular basis, you will eventually run into an angry customer. Following are six ways to calm down an angry customer:
1. Listen, but Do Not React
It is important to let the customer rant for a while and vent their anger. Do not immediately react to their anger. Even if they become abusive, you have to remind yourself that they do not know you personally and are actually angry at the service/product provided by your company.
2. Set Boundaries
When they have finished their rant, explain to the customer that you can and will help them, and exactly how their problem can be solved. Make it clear to them that you will be helpful as long as they are not abusive. Remember that your job is to help, not to serve as a punching bag.
3. Acknowledge and Apologize
Acknowledge their problem and apologize for the inconvenience. Your apology will hold greater meaning if you can solve their problem immediately or can at least get started on solving it.
It doesn’t matter if you are speaking to them over the phone, or are meeting them in person, empathizing with the customer can go a long way in diffusing the situation.
5. Guide Them
Let the customer know the way forward in clear terms. Complaint resolution is different for different industries. If the problem can be solved immediately then go ahead and do so, or direct them to someone who can do so. If there is a procedure and time period associated with the problem resolution, explain it to them. Make sure you do not make promises you cannot keep.
6. Thank Them
Thank the customer for their cooperation. If you feel the necessity, apologize again for the inconvenience, but do not overdo it.
Every industry is associated with its own set of services and products, and each organization operating in any sector has its own pool of customers. The customer reactions, and the intensity of their anger, are dependent upon a number of variables such as the nature of product and services provided by the company, the nature of the customer, the culture of the region in which the event is taking place etc.
The six steps we have recommended are a general solution, and some steps may not apply to some industries. However, these steps can be used as a general guideline to calm down an angry customer.