Don’t Be Afraid, Stop Avoiding Angry Customers

Don’t Be Afraid, Stop Avoiding Angry Customers

Business confrontation. Two mature men in formalwear arguing while sitting together at the table

You can please most of the people, most of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time. Incredible words of wisdom for every business owner. You can have a master’s degree in customer service and still encounter people who simply want to be dissatisfied.
When it comes to customer relations, there will be times when your best efforts simply won’t be enough. What do you do when a customer is angry and you can’t turn things around?

It’s Natural to Want to Avoid Conflict

Anger triggers the fight or flight response. In most cases, business owners want to avoid conflict at all costs and it’s natural to want to engage minimally with angry or dissatisfied customers. While it’s normal to avoid conflict, it isn’t always possible. In fact, it’s better to take an offensive position to angry customers and handle the situation as fast as possible.

Most Customers Want Resolution

When customers are dissatisfied, most want resolution. Given the choice, unhappy customers are hoping you as a business owner will solve their problem and turn the situation around. They may take a defensive position expecting push back which can be conveyed with anger or sarcasm. When you take an offensive position, you are in a better place to diffuse their mood and turn it around. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Confront the Situation

You may be nervous dealing with someone who is upset with your business, or worse, you may have a tendency to become angry and defensive yourself. Don’t be afraid to confront negative situations as soon as possible. Keep your own emotions under control and seek resolution. Here are some keys to remember:

  1. Quick action reduces tension- If a customer is unhappy, the sooner you resolve the issue the less messy things become.
  2. You can’t fix what you won’t acknowledge- Keep your finger on the pulse of customer satisfaction by checking in with customers after the sale. Pay attention to reviews online, and poll your customers when possible. You may be unaware of patterns of dissatisfaction in your customer relations that need to be addressed.
  3. Always stay humble and kind- As country star Tim McGraw would say, always stay humble and kind when dealing with dissatisfied customers. Avoid matching anger or sarcasm with the same. One of the easiest ways to diffuse an angry person is to genuinely show appreciation and concern for them. Approach the situation with a humble mindset determined to find resolution.
  4. Know your boundaries and stick to them- Sometimes you simply won’t be able to turn someone around. Also, some people have unreasonable expectations. When this is the case, be clear about what you are willing to do and do not feel obligated to go farther. Operating in good faith is all you need to try to make things right. If a customer is unwilling or unable to work with you, be prepared to draw a line in the sand and hold your ground.

Conflict is uncomfortable but at some point, a customer will likely take issue with you or your business. Be confident that you can address their needs and work through any issues, even if you feel rattled at the time.