Every store owner has had to deal with an angry customer at some point or another. Whether it is your favourite customer or your not-so-favourite customer, the reason behind being upset is typically one of three things. The most common complaint is around pricing or flexibility. The price is 'too high' for what you're selling or you don't have exact option, combination that your customer was wanting to do! Another common cause of anguish is you're not quite running on time, even a few minutes can set someone off!
So, what are the best ways to deal with these angry customers? While every situation is different, here are a few tips that store owners can follow to help combat upset customers.
Don't take it personal!
First and foremost, don't take what customers say personally. These angry customers will likely be upset about pricing or offering whether they are at your store or the store down the street. Don't get defensive and try to rebuttal these customers' claims. Instead, remain confident in your store, your pricing, service and your offerings and relay that confidence to the customer.
Listen & Learn
Next, listen to the customer and make them feel heard. Most of the time, customers just want to feel that you care about their inconveniences, and simply listening to their problems satisfies this need. Also, be open to what they have to say. No business is perfect and these instances can often be an opportunity for store owners to understand ways they can improve their business.
After the customer vents, he wants to know you understand where he’s coming from and how he or she feels. Express sympathy for their unpleasant customer experience. Respect and understanding go a long way toward smoothing things over.
Whether the customer’s complaint is legitimate or not is really irrelevant. If you want her to stay a customer, you need to express an apology for the problem they are having (or perceive to be having). A simple, straightforward statement is often all that’s needed: “I’m sorry you’re not happy with (What they are unhappy about). Let’s see what we can do to make things right.”
Find a solution.
Once you understand why the customer is unhappy, it is time to offer a solution. Ask him what he feels should be done or put forward your own fair and realistic answer to the problem. In most cases, that’s all the customer is looking for—and may result in providing some degree of satisfaction.
Last but not least, transparency can go a long way! A lot of the time, providing context on your combinations, service or why you don't have a product in stock will allow the customer to understand your point of view. If you are honest and let them know the struggles you are facing in providing what they are looking for, customers will feel more trusting and connected to your store. It is important to remember that the value of a customer is not the transactions they make but the relationship you have with them. The more transparent you can be with your customers, the stronger your relationships will get.
Take a few minutes on your own.
After the situation has been resolved and the customer is on her way, it’s helpful for you to take your own “time-out.” Even if you’ve handled the situation in the most professional way possible, it’s still a stressful experience. Rather than let that stress linger inside you, take a short walk, treat yourself to a snack or find someone to talk to who makes you laugh. Then you’ll be ready to once again engage with your customers.