Angry Customers Mean More than Just Heartburn

Your employees and perhaps even you have dealt with these individuals at one time or another – the angry customer.

In jobs that involve a lot of customer service calls, undoubtedly some of your employees have met the wrath of that man or woman who doesn’t like the service, the product they acquired, the prices charged or more.

In order to placate these individuals, you can take the beating like a man or you can write them off as a customer and never have to deal with them again.

angry customers

For those companies that choose to work with these angry customers, it can take some comforting remarks, coupons and/or discounts on future purchases and more to win them over. In some of these instances, you will win them back, while others just want to give you a piece of their mind before never speaking to you again.

Either way, bosses and their employees must make a decision on when to fight for a customer and when to cut them loose.

Worth Fighting For

If you’re dealing with a customer who has a legitimate gripe and they mean enough to your business, then trying to work through the problem with them is the right call.

  • Provide a quick response – Getting back to the customer regarding the problem means assuring them that you are dealing with the issue. Customers tend to have a little more willingness to work with you if they know you’re on top of the problem and you give them a reasonable deadline with which to fix the problem.
  • Don’t leave things up in the air – If you tell a customer you’ll look into it but don’t give them an approximate time of when you expect to have an answer, be prepared to potentially lose them.
  • Learn from the past – How many times as a business owner have you had a customer who meant a lot to your company in both time and free advertising (referring friends, family, co-workers etc.) upset with your business, yet you failed to fight for them? If the answer is too many, there is a good chance your revenue stream has taken a hit as a result.

Not Worth Fighting For

For all those customers that are worth fighting for, there are a fair number who no matter how you try to please them will be a royal pain in the rump.

  • Make a decision – You as the business owner will need to come to the conclusion that no matter what suggestions you employ to fix the problem will be shot down. Whether it was product, price or service, these customers will continue to be upset. At that point, business owners must decide if this individual is really worth the time and effort. If they’re not, then time to cut the cord and move on.
  • Employee morale can be impacted – Problem customers not only impact your schedule, they can assist in bringing down the morale of your employees if they’re constantly complaining. Who wants their employees dreading going to work knowing they may have to deal with so-and-so today?

While no business owner wants to openly lose a customer, most realize that it is inevitable and is actually a good thing sometimes.

When dealing with angry customers, take the time to determine why they’re upset in the first place, see if the remedy to the problem is doable, and gauge the full impact this individual is and could have on your staff over time.

Angry customers are angry for a reason; make sure the reason makes sense to you and your staff before you act.

About The Guest Author: Dave Thomas is an expert writer based in San Diego, California.   He writes extensively for an online resource that provides expert advice on purchasing and outsourcing decisions for small business owners and entrepreneurs at Resource Nation.


2 Comments Angry Customers Mean More than Just Heartburn

  1. Is It Down

    Good to know that there are some instances where the customer is *not* always right… Do you have any tips on how to decide if the customer is worth the trouble or not, though?

  2. Veronica

    Indeed, the angry customer can provide much learning for businesses and is not always right.

    Customer Service is one of the customised courses I deliver to businesses. Over the years, I have found it useful to adapt a suggestion from another Customer Service trainer. This method uses the acronym LESTER as a simple way of helping staff to remember how to manage situations with angry customers. In essence, LESTER advises on taking the approach of Listening the customer, then follow through with ‘Echo’ to clarify you understand the complaint. This is then followed with Sympathise, Thank, Evaluate and Respond.

    It allows for thinking time on how to respond and cooling time to calm the customer. Of course, some situations are so highly charged and confrontational that staff cannot get beyond the first step of listening to the complaint.

    Business Coach and Trainer
    Author of ’52 Tips for Communicating with Customers’


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