How much does it cost your business to acquire a customer? How much do you spend on advertising, lead generation, and social media to acquire just one customer? How much time does your sales team spend in nurturing that lead and closing the sale? It is important to consider because, as we’ve explained before, a company generates far more profit from existing customers than it does from newly acquired ones.

If so much is invested in developing a customer relationship, why do so many companies reward customer service representatives for keeping customer complaint calls as short as possible? We don’t understand that either. That’s why we were glad to see on the Hiver Blog, an “exhaustive guide” for helping angry customers. Here are just a few helpful suggestions from Hiver’s much longer guide.

5 Tips for helping a frustrated customer

1 | Approach stressful situations with a Zen mind and compassion

You have to let go of the idea that you have to fix a situation. This is not the same as not caring. It is simply a realization that you can only do your best and it might or might not solve the problem. A simple ‘I understand this must be frustrating for you’ goes a long in pacifying the customer when they are at their worst.

2 |  Ask questions to the customer

It may be your natural tendency to argue with the customer and call their beliefs unfounded. Research reveals you cannot change even a relaxed person’s mind, let alone an infuriated one. Arguing with the customer will only make the situation worse even when their claims are actually unfounded. A better approach is to ask questions. Being listened to will make the customer feel that you take them seriously. The act of talking and explaining the problem brings their minds to a rational state. They will be calmer than they were when they initially called.

3 | Apologize for the situation

More often than not, the customer will be angry for something that was never under your control. You may be tempted to suggest it is the customer’s fault. All this does is shake the faith the customer has in your company. An apology tells your customer that you regret them having to interrupt their day to make that call.

4 | Reinstate trust and resolve the problem

Once you have managed to calm your customer, start working on the resolution. Your customer wants to know that you are willing to work on the problem and aren’t going to run for the door. Start with a positive statement such as ‘We’re going to solve this together’. It will help them feel reassured about the resolution process. If you can’t resolve the issue immediately, tell the customer exactly what you’ll do, and indicate how much time will that take. Be specific, like, “I will have to reach out to my product engineers for this. Allow me to call you in two hours.” If you do not have a solution within the next two hours, call them anyway and tell them that you are working on it.

5 |  Express gratitude

The measure of success is whether you have been able to preserve the investment your company has made in acquiring the customer. Ask your customer a very straightforward question: Are you satisfied with the solution? It goes a long way in showing that you care. Do not expect your customers to thank you. They did pay for your product which failed to perform as expected. They did spend a lot of time trying to get a resolution for a problem they should not have encountered. However, they have helped your team discover a way the product did not perform as it is supposed to – thank them for that.

VIA | Hiver Blog: The exhaustive guide to dealing with angry customers


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