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Dealing with angry customers

You know what an angry customer’s voice sounds like: high-pitched tone, elevated volume, long pauses and sighs, or a condescending tone. You may hear threats, swearing, shrill demands or terse answers. Once you have identified an angry caller, what next? An angry customer actually has two problems: a relationship problem with your organization and a specific problem that prompted the call. You must acknowledge the first problem first. The best way to repair the customer’s relationship with your organization is to attend to the following needs. Angry customers need you to make them feel:

  • Valued. Say: “We value your business, and I apologize that your experience was less than you expected and deserved.”
  • Appreciated. Say: “Thank you for taking the time to make us aware of this situation.”
  • Respected. Say: “You make a valid point” and “I can understand why that would make you upset.”
  • Understood. Say: “That makes sense” and “I see what you mean.”
  • Comfortable. Say: “Let me know what we can do to make that up to you.”

–Adapted from Keep Them Calling! Superior Service on the Telephone, Sherry Barrett, American Media Publishing

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