Most of you have never learned much about sales. Some of it comes naturally or is simple common sense, but when emotions get high you really start to struggle to fill in those knowledge gaps and navigate the situation with grace.
One such situation is when you have to deal with an angry customer.
1. Remind yourself that this isn’t personal. Your customer just wants you to understand their side of the situation and make things right. They don’t want to feel misunderstood or cheated.
2. Stay calm. As soon as your emotions rise, you’re going to say something that hurts your customer or elevates the situation even more. If you’re having trouble staying calm, step away from the situation and do something else for a while. It will wait. And it’s better that you come to it with a clear head and calm demeanor.
3. Listen to everything your customer says. Really listen. Sometimes their complaint is just a cover for something else. Perhaps they aren’t angry that you charged them shipping, but rather they don’t realize you used that money to insure the package. Not to mention, this gives you a really good sense of how your customers experience a transaction with you. In that same instance, you didn’t make it clear enough to your customer prior to handing her the bill that she would be charged for shipping in addition to your agreed upon price.
4. Assess the situation and address their situation with the facts. It’s much better to say, “I charged you shipping because I insure the package through the postal carrier to make sure it gets to you safely.” than to get defensive about it.
5. Apologize. Sometimes that’s all it takes.
6. Offer up at least one reasonable solution, but no more than three. Make sure you’ve thought through them and that they’re thorough when you explain them. You are the one in control of the situation and your customer will feel a lot less helpless if you act like you’re in charge and have a plan to fix things for them.
7. Always remember that this is a big deal for your customer. Even if this is just one of many orders you’re juggling right now, this might be the biggest thing going on for your customer. So it’s really important to them that it gets resolved fairly.
8. I can’t emphasize it enough – stay calm. Keeping your cool can help you think clearly, identify solutions that make both you and your customer happy, and usually solve the issue more quickly.
I know it’s a lot, but when you get at the heart of it, you’re just backing the emotions off and handling the situation from a place of caring, thoughtfulness, and understanding. That’s all any customer wants from you.