Have you ever encountered a technical problem while servicing a customer? Or perhaps you simply “screwed up?” I know I have. We have to remember however, that it’s alright! We’re only human and humans are not perfect. The unfortunate hitch is that other humans don’t always remember this. It’s a simple fact: customers get angry. It’s how we act on and toward the situation that matters most.
Research shows that many customers just want an explanation, solution to the problem, or an apology. There is a process known as The Three R’s. This is a great tool to keep in mind when dealing with an angry customer.
Do not, I repeat, do not view the customer’s anger as an attack on you! If you do so, you will only respond with a defense in a tone that says, “I don’t need you,” most likely causing the customer to walk away (taking their five friends with them). This is the first step towards realizing that the anger the customer has is a cry for help rather than an attack.
Reassure your customer that you can not only solve this problem, but that it will never happen again. Yes, sometimes certain things can’t be fixed right away, over the phone, or 100% guaranteed that it won’t happen again, but as long as the customer feels satisfied that you did your absolute best, that’s all that matters in the long run of keeping them as a client.
People like to blame someone. Even if it’s a technical problem that was and is out of your hands, take responsibility for it because it’s your program or a program that you chose to use. Be prepared however, when you take responsibility, you’re making a promise that you should intend to keep. Breaking promises (not taking responsibility) loses customers and future customers. You don’t have to give in to every demand, but be aware that you will be committing to doing whatever is necessary to solve their complaint.
Put yourself in the shoes of the buyer… you also like to have your problems solved, right? You want all the same things – reassurance, responsibility, and commitment. If you can accomplish these things with the help of The Three R’s, you’ll be keeping current customers satisfied as well as bringing in new ones from the raving reviews.