Customers who are irate are rarely fun to deal with. However, there are some basic steps you can take to resolve their concerns, and retain their business. Here are three steps you can take to help placate an irate customer, so they will be satisfied, and even more loyal towards your business:
- Begin by being empathetic
Often customers will not be upset because of a failing of your product or service, but rather because of something completely unrelated which happened to them earlier. Being patient, and empathetic to their problems is a great way to diffuse the situation. In other cases, their frustrations are justified. If this is the case, then you should find out what all of the problems are, before proceeding on to the next step.
- Focus on future solutions, not past problems
Once you have a good understanding of all the problems, you can then solicit the customer for help in developing solutions. It is vital to check with the customer, since the solution(s) you offer will either be acceptable to them, or will have little to no effect in making them less irate. Focus instead on what the business relationship should be like in the future, and what it will take on both of your parts to make that ideal future happen. Sometimes, you will determine that there is no potential for a future which retains the customer for your business. If this is the case, simply say so, and wish the former customer well on their journey. If you part on good terms, they may either come back if they have future needs, or speak highly of you to others, either of which are good outcomes.
- Ask the customer how you should follow-up
Finally, once you have a tentative set of solutions to the customer’s needs, you should ask how best to follow-up with them. While no one likes to deal with a customer who is upset, every customer appreciates a businessperson who cares about them and their well-being. They especially appreciate someone who wants to make sure that the job is done right the first time, or that it can be fixed to their satisfaction. When you do this, customers have no reason to be justifiably angry with you anymore. If they still are, then the problem lies with them, and not your business’ service.
So, by being empathetic to customers, focusing on problem-solving solutions, and properly following up with an irate customer, you can meet their needs, and usually keep their business for the long-term.
Copyright 2010, by Marc Mays
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