How to Handle an Upset Customer

If you work in the wide and ever-growing world of telecommunications, then there is no way around it. You most likely have had to deal with at least one upset customer, or in my case, blood donor.

Dealing with someone who is angry doesn’t have to be an unpleasant experience, however. In fact, it is quite the contrary. When a company is forced to deal with an upset customer, it becomes a crucial interaction that can determine how the customer will perceive said company when the call is over – that is, if the customer will remain a customer. When a blood donor calls me during my work, as a Conversational Marketing™ Expert (CME) at Incept, I make sure I do my absolute best in representing our clients.

Why do people get angry and make customer service calls, though? Is it because they don’t understand their billing statement? Did they have trouble due to technical issues with your product? Whatever the situation or case, upset customers really just want someone to listen to their problem, understand what they have been going through, and work with them to find a solution. It really is that easy.

How about we take a look at some basic pointers that anyone in any type of customer service-related industry can apply to their own jobs.

A Few Helpful Hints in Dealing with an Upset Customer

  • Never ask the customer to calm down. This might seem like a no-brainier, but in asking an upset customer to calm down, you might actually tick them off even more. The best thing to do from the very start is listen to why the customer is so angry in the first place. Empathize, and place yourself in their situation. Verbalize the fact that you understand what they have had to deal with. Nine times out of ten you will make that upset customer grateful due to the fact you listened, creating positive rapport that will open the gates to calmly and effectively discuss a solution.
  • Gentle and appropriate customer education goes a long way. People generally get angry at what they don’t know or when they feel like they can’t do something. When you know why an upset customer is calling, you can then analyze your method of approach. When you educate your customers on why the billing statements work the way they do, the correct way to use your product software – or anything else – they will get an understanding of you trying to help them, which is what they really want after all.
  • Literally guide your customer through the steps you are taking to solve their problem.So people looking for help like to receive help, yes? They will like it even more when you explain exactly what you are doing to address their problem and how it will be handled. An example of this would be when I get an inbound call from a blood donor who is upset with the frequency of calls they are receiving. I apologize, and let them know that I understand where they are coming from, and then ask what I can personally do to help them. If they ask to be put on our do-not-call list, or to have the call volume reduced, I let them know exactly how I coded their disposition and what they can expect from it all. I always make sure to ask them before ending the call if there is anything else I can do. Remember, helping an upset customer is always about strengthening the relationship between you, as a professional (or CME)  and them as your customer (or blood donor).

Isn’t it astounding how a person that called in upset can change their tone with you just by taking simple steps? The most important step of all is to listen. Look past the annoyed tone they might have; it is nothing personal. Dig deeper into the reason why they are calling. Be open to what you are doing as a professional to address the situation. These simple steps will not only help you retain and help an irritated customer, but above all, it will strengthen the relationship you have with them.

What suggestions do you have on how to handle dealing with an upset customer?