Customer service is a vital function for all businesses. Ensuring that your customer support agents are properly trained and equipped to handle any situation is essential, as research has shown that 56% of consumers around the world would stop transacting with a business due to poor customer service.
Understandably, you wouldn’t want that to happen to your company. Growing a business is a challenge in itself, and constantly satisfying their needs is an integral part of that.
Angry or unsatisfied customers are inevitable. No matter what you’re selling, there will always be someone who’s not 100% satisfied with your product. However, it can be a valuable learning experience because it encourages you to take a step back and think about how you can innovate and bounce back better than ever.
How to Deal with Angry Customers?
According to reports, 66% of adults believe that taking the time to hear out concerns and find a resolution is essential in providing excellent customer service. With that in mind, here are four things that you can do to handle agitated customers correctly (with examples).
1. Make the conversation personal
Delivering personalized customer service shows that your brand cares. In fact, 95% of the buyers’ purchasing decisions are based on emotional experience and 81% of consumers purchased because of their trust towards the brand.
To engage with customers on a more personal level, start with learning and addressing them by their names. Using their names reportedly has a psychological effect that makes them feel more valued and offers a more humanized experience, as opposed to using generic titles such as “Sir” or “Madam.” It may seem insignificant, but tiny efforts like these add up to create a better overall experience.
Using a generic title:
Customer: “I’m experiencing a problem on my account after buying a professional email. It seems that I stopped receiving emails from outside my team.”
Support Agent: “Hello Sir! Allow me to dictate a list of steps that you can follow to address your problem. Please advise once you’re ready.”
Customer: “Okay. Also, I’m not a “Sir,” I just have a deep voice. Call me Dani instead.”
Using a customer’s name:
Support Agent: “Good day! Thank you for calling Express Digital. Could you please provide your full name and the service number indicated on your account, please?”
Customer: “Hello. I’m calling to report that my account has been locked. It’s under my name, Nancy Smith, and my service number is 456-781-2202.”
Support Agent: “Thank you for providing this information. Would you like to be referred to as Mrs. Smith or Ms. Nancy?”
Customer: “Nancy is fine. Thank you.”
Support Agent: “Okay, Nancy. I’ve checked your account, and it is indeed locked due to multiple failed log-in attempts. I will unlock your account from my end; then, our system will send you a one-time password the next time you log in. Once done, you should be able to access it without any problems.”
Customer: “Great! Thank you for your assistance.”
Using your customer’s name does not only provide a personalized experience but also prevents you from committing unnecessary mistakes.
2. Connect with your customer through listening and understanding
According to research, 75% of customers believe that it takes too long to reach a live agent. This adds to the frustration and gives them more reason to complain when an agent finally answers their call or chat. Despite the long and angry speech, listen to their complaints or concerns—make them feel that their frustrations are real and will be addressed.
Customer: “It’s been several days, and I’m still experiencing bugs on your insights and analytics platform. I ended up making inaccurate reports. This is unacceptable! I expected better performance than this!”
Support Agent: “I understand your frustrations, Henry. Could you tell us more about the issue so we can determine when or why you received the error?”
Once you get a sense that the customer has calmed down, maneuver the conversation to identifying the root of their negative emotion.
3. Consider their “affect heuristic”
Affect Heuristic implies that people make decisions based on how they feel towards a situation. That’s why some people say, “Don’t approach the boss; he’s in a bad mood,” because chances are, your proposal or concern will be dismissed regardless of its true value.
When a customer vents, they would want to know if you understand where they’re coming from. To approach this, practice reflective listening. If necessary, repeat the problem back to them, so they know that you’re on the same page. If the details provided are too vague, simply ask them to clarify or elaborate.
Remember, you won’t be able to satisfy the customer if it’s not clear what you’re trying to resolve in the first place.
Support Agent: “You mentioned that you experienced bugs after installing a plugin, Henry? Can you please provide the name of the plugin so I can check it on our system?”
Customer: “Yes, it’s called FormMetrics. I’m using it to customize my contact form.”
Support Agent: “One moment, please. Upon checking the back end of your website, the plugin caused errors that led to inaccurate data. It’s best to uninstall this and revert to normal.”
Customer: “But I need it to customize a part of my page.”
Support Agent: “Perhaps we can help you customize your contact form instead? We have a feature that doesn’t require a third-party app and it can be installed in a few clicks. Are you interested to know more about this feature, Henry?”
If you are unable to grant their request, you can offer an alternative solution to fix the problem. A study shows that 49% of buyers made impulse purchases after receiving a more personalized customer experience. You can guide them through the process and see if what you are offering fits what they need.
4. Use the right tone and words
Each customer and complaint are different. Some are calm and understanding of the situation, some want immediate resolution, and some are very sensitive to the point that they negate everything you offer. To spare you the stress, utilize the right tone and words to improve your conversation:
Situation 1: Problems with billing
Customer: “Your company charged me for June despite stopping my subscription last month!”
*Avoid saying: “I’m glad to help you with this problem.”
Instead, say this: “We understand your frustration, James. An error may have occurred that led to the problem. Could you please provide your account details, so we can help resolve the matter?”
Situation 2: Turnaround time for resolution
Customer: “You keep saying that, but I haven’t received any follow-up regarding my complaint!”
*Avoid saying: “Can you tell us about your concern again?”
Instead, say this: “I understand where you are coming from, James. Could we please have the ticket number provided when you filed your complaint?”
Customers tend to get frustrated when their concern is passed from one agent to another because this forces them to retell their story but not get any resolution. This is the time for you to follow up on the issue’s status and look for alternative ways to resolve the problem.
In some cases, the problem cannot be immediately resolved, but it helps the user feel more at ease if you can give them updates about the progress of their concern or the next steps.
Focus on the Customer’s Goal
Assessing the quality of your customer support is tricky, but thanks to innovative solutions, various key performance indicators can now help you evaluate customer satisfaction and the quality of your support.
Dealing with an unhappy customer can be stressful; however, there will be times when you’ll be faced with crises or crucial times that you must overcome to deliver excellent customer support.
It’s not just about apologizing and taking notes for documentation—empathizing, active listening, taking the concern into account, and following up can help you provide a five-star customer support experience and turn them into loyal advocates.