Do you dread dealing with customers who are angry and unhappy?
When looking at how to best resolve an issue with an irate customer, certain factors need to be taken into consideration: the impact of the issue on the customer and the business, how long the issue has dragged on and not been dealt with, and is there background information you may not be aware of.
You want to start the conversation in a non-intimidating, non-defensive way that lets the customer know you are open to discussion. Begin by confirming what the issue is from the customer’s viewpoint and then engage them in the solution:
- What is the actual problem or issue, as you see it?
- What has caused of the problem or issue, as you see it?
- What is a fair and reasonable solution, as you see it?
- What will resolve this matter for you? (a final question if all else fails)
Be sure to actively listen to the customer. Paraphrase what they have said back to them to ensure they have understood and that both of you are on the same page. By engaging the customer in the solution, they will feel listened to, and be more likely to meet you half-way in finding a workable solution.
Without doubt, some customers are demanding, unreasonable, and plain rude. But we must stop, pause and think before we react. Nowadays for any business, reputation is everything. Unresolved disputes or a dispute handled poorly can come back to haunt you via word of mouth and/or social media. It’s easy to forget that businesses exist only because they have customers who are willing to pay for their products or services. No customers, no business!
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