Let’s be honest: we all make mistakes. There’s nothing wrong with it, either (as long as we learn from them).
Making mistakes is a part of being human. And most clients understand that. But once in a while, you’ll come across a customer that will take it personally.
I’m talking about the kind of customer who takes a simple error, and blows it up to gigantic proportions.
Often, these clients aren’t out to slur your reputation. They feel cheated, and want to make sure that you don’t cheat others. And (unless you really did cheat them), it’s normally caused by a misunderstanding or honest mistake.
So…How Can This Help?
You see, it’s quite easy to turn an angry customer into your biggest advocate. And all it should cost is your time.
When you take the time to talk to an angry customer and gather feedback, you’re often able to open their eyes to a new perspective: yours.
Furthermore, when you take the time to fix your mistake, customers value it. By listening to them, you’re giving them a vested interest in your improving your brand. And why wouldn’t they want to promote something that they’re a part of?
A Word of Warning
This approach describes most consumers. But there are those folks out there that just like to cause trouble. If, when you approach the customer, they aren’t receptive and don’t explain their problem it’s a red flag that you won’t be able to win this customer.
Repairing the Relationship
Before you approach an angry customer, you’ve got to make one assumption: the customer has a right to be angry. If you don’t keep an open mind about it, you’ll find that it’s easier to come to a resolution with the customer.
Here’s some things to consider when you’re approaching the customer:
- Watch your tone. It’s easy to get passionate as you are defending your brand. Keep in mind that your customer is just as passionate about defending their position at this point. Speak softly and kindly, and don’t interrupt the customer. Let them tell their side of the story first.
- Put the customer before the problem. If you find out you have a fundamental problem in your product or service, it’s easy to forget the customer and rush to fix the product. Make sure you take care of the customer who actually went to the effort of voicing their opinion before you do so.
- Own the problem. Ensure that your customer knows that you’re personally overseeing the correction of your mistake. Don’t just delegate it to the technical department. Even if fixing the mistake isn’t your job, be involved in the process.
- Follow Up. Once the problem has been fixed, follow up after a reasonable time frame. This is probably the most meaningful thing you can do for a customer. This is where you can turn a customer into a brand ambassador.
What experiences have you had with angry customers, and how have you rectified the relationship?