Feb 27, 2023
It’s the moment you dread. The phone call you don’t want to pick up. The review you’re scared to address.
Responding to unhappy customers seems like a chore. It can be overwhelming and humiliating when the customer is shouting at you from the other end of the line.
The good news is there are steps you can take to address those bitter customers. Here’s a list of how to get through the phone call gracefully, without sobbing afterward.
Listen to Your Customers Concerns
The worst move you could make is not taking your customer’s valid concerns seriously. Many times, the reason why someone will complain over the phone or via a review is because they want to be heard.
Listen to what they have to say. Repeat their concerns. Say to them, “I completely understand.” Then, hopefully, the disgruntled client will realize that you truly care about their input. Plus, if you listen intensively, you’ll be much more receptive to resolving the issue together.
Studies have shown that if you smile when you’re talking on the phone, your voice will sound more empathetic and approachable. Plus, that grin may even help you relax throughout the tense conversation.
Sure, the customer may still be upset and confrontational, but at least your tone proves that you are calm and ready to make their day better. Who knows, maybe the client will be smiling on the other end of the line by the end of the phone call. Positive thinking!
Avoid a Defensive Attitude
“It’s not my fault.” Even if you directly didn’t do anything, being defensive and not validating the customer's concerns is a big no-no. When you become defensive, your tone becomes agitated and the client will, in return, become defensive as well.
The best piece of advice is to remain calm, listen, and never blame the customer. Remember at the end of the day, the customer is always right, and you need to do everything in your power to resolve the broken relationship.
If the unhappy customer leaves a bad review on Google or somewhere else, it’s imperative to address the review as quickly as possible. They thought it was necessary to write a negative review about their experience, so make it a priority to respond immediately and offer a solution. The best way to respond is to write up a short, sincere apology and then ask the customer to email or call you at their convenience so you can discuss further in private and not over a public platform.
Find the Solution
When customers are fuming, the best way to extinguish the situation is to listen intensively and then offer up a solution that you both can agree upon. Whether it be a voucher, reimbursement, or an internal issue that needs to be taken care of, this is your time to think quickly and prove to the upset client that you have their back. Once a solution is agreed upon, make sure to follow through with your promise and then follow up with the customer. If you issued them a reimbursement, check-in and make sure it went through. It wouldn’t hurt to even follow up with the client every now and then just to see how everything is going.
Brush it Off
Before letting this ruin your entire day (or week), remember they are not directly upset with you – don’t take it personally. Sure, it can feel like they are blaming you for everything, but just remember to remain calm and professionally address the situation without getting too emotional over it. More than likely, the unhappy customer is upset with the product or services received and just wants to be heard.
Addressing unhappy customers is an overwhelming position to be in – no one likes to be screamed at. However, if you follow these simple tips and stay cool and collected, you will likely resolve the situation and move on in no time.