It’s one of the most critical aspects of customer service: dealing with angry customers. While many people might cringe at the thought of handling customer complaints or addressing negative feedback from customers, the smart ones see it for what it is— an opportunity.
Listening to your upset customer is the most critical first step to take. Try to come to the interaction without preconceived notions or your defenses, just listen intently to their whole story. Once you’ve listened without interrupting, you can begin to ask questions to clarify the issue and find out how the customer would like it resolved.
Was it an error on your end? Go ahead and own up to it. A genuine apology and acknowledgement of your mistake will go a long way to remind your customer that there is a human element to your business. Even if your business isn’t actually at fault for the issue, it’s still a good idea to honor your customer’s feelings and express regret for the unfortunate experience.
What is it your customer wants? If it’s a reasonable request, make it your goal to go above and beyond to honor it. Do they want a refund? Give them their money back with an additional discount for a future purchase or with a small gift. Did they receive a damaged product? Replace it for free, and don’t make them send back the damaged one (or at very least, make the shipping process as simple as possible and free on their end). In the event that your business isn’t at fault for the problem, you may not be able to offer a refund. It’s still important to give your upset customer something. A gift certificate or some form of a free gift is a nice gesture. Retaining your existing customers is much more cost efficient than replacing them.
After you’ve made amends with your upset customer, reach out to them in a couple of weeks to see how they’re doing. Make sure they’re satisfied with their experience with your company and find out if there’s anything additional you can do to serve them.
Each interaction you have with a dissatisfied customer is a valuable opportunity to improve your business. When you address each customer complaint, you get insight into their experience with your business and you can make changes to your processes and procedures accordingly.
The way you respond to your customers’ complaints can make or break your brand’s reputation. It’s true what they say— more people will share their complaints than their satisfaction, but when you go above and beyond to delight an upset customer, you give them a happy ending to share, too.