The Angry Customer
Key Learning Points
- Allow customers to vent
- Acknowledge customers’ feelings
- Take ownership of the issue
- Avoid blaming the customer
- Focus away from emotions, toward issues
- Collaborate with customer to solve problem
Service representative Carlos violates every rule for dealing with angry customers, from blaming the client to refusing ownership of the issue. The customer, Warren, quickly escalates from annoyance to frustration, from infuriation to hostility. Carlos accuses Warren of being abusive, and ends the call.
Warren calls back and Angela takes over. Calm and professional, Angela knows the four strategies for how to handle irate customers: allow them to vent, empathize, refocus away from emotion and toward the issue, and use closed-ended questions to satisfy. She acknowledges Warren’s frustrations, but skillfully changes the focus to the issue. Angela turns conflict into collaboration, solves the issue, and reduces the cost of unhappy customers.