Dissecting Customer Anger

“If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow” – Chinese Proverb

Anyone who is working or has worked in customer service knows fully well that there is never a completely calm day. There are bound to be interactions with a customer who is frustrated or worse still angry. However, it is beneficial for a company to train their staff to think logically, dissect the customer anger and treat it like an opportunity to better the company’s business. The angry customer is your best learning ground and if you are able to get them to smile, you can be sure that you have got yourself a brand advocate.

Customer anger is a stepping stone and a kind of catalyst to take your customer service to a higher level and to build better quality. As your customer service quality rises you will have others wowed as well and be able to build your customer base. For a long term gain it would be beneficial for your company to set your customer service in a way that they are ready to face the onslaughts and manage customer anger. The better it is managed, the fewer instances will be there in the future. Listening attentively to a customer complaint and being empathetic most often calms the customer enough for them to listen to your side as well. Never underestimate customer anger and never react if not positively inclined.

Dissecting customer anger is about looking at the reasons for the anger and what can be done immediately to pacify it.

– What made the customer angry? A human error or a bad product or that the customer has been unable to receive a resolution despite trying. In most cases it is probably your company’s fault.
– The customer anger must be appeased. The interaction with an angry person is never easy. Handle the customer with patience and empathy.
– After listening to the customer’s point of view make a quick analysis of what can be done to rectify the problem such that the customer is satisfied.
– From a future perspective, understand what changes need to be made to ensure that this problem does not reoccur and neither this customer nor others are angered.

These are the broad ways to deal with customer anger and it is good to understand each better.

1. The issue that made the customer angry

We know that as human beings each of us is prone to getting angrier at things that someone else may not even notice. These issues could be reasonable to one and totally unreasonable to some other person. Within the realm of customer service however, it is imprudent to try and evaluate whether the customer anger is reasonable or not. The important thing is to take every complaint and reason for ire seriously and make it better as speedily and efficiently as possible.
What companies need to know is that research has shown that customers who were angry and received special treatment and had the issue resolved, were more likely to become loyal to the company. It is human nature that if a person perceives that their problem is being treated with respect they feel happy and special. Customers are human and so the same applies to them. Customer anger must be seen as an opportunity to get a brand advocate. Ensure that you clearly understand the reason for the customer’s anger before trying to resolve it. The error on the part of your company could have caused the customer serious damages or even leaked information to a competitor. In such a case a simple apology will not work. It will need much more. It is imperative to completely understand what your customer’s problem is first. Not doing so could probably anger your customer even more. Patience and listening skills come in handy.

2. Customer Anger
The customer anger is never easy to deal with. In fact no one likes to have someone angry at them. It is an unpleasant, uncomfortable and rather unnerving feeling and is best resolved. However in the customer service world, the representative has to deal with customer anger irrespective of how tough it is and is even tougher because it is not the fault of the agent dealing with it. A customer is in their right to get angry and customer service rules state that you must listen and let them vent. Having a thick skin and remaining unemotional through the barrage will serve the customer service representative well. Know that the customer has nothing personal and neither must you try to cut in before the customer has finished speaking. You can only appease the customer anger when you have fully understood what they are saying. It is possible that it has a really solution and you can provide it after the customer has fully vent all the ire he or she feels. However, if you the problem is more complex and does not have a ready solution, calmly let the customer know that it would take time (specify the time) and ensure that you deliver as per the promised timeline with an effective resolution.

3. The most effective solution
Customers just want the most effective and speedy resolution and unless you have chosen badly, they are not out to get you and or grab every last bit of anything they can lay their hands on. If a customer is with you it is because they want high quality service and a great product. However, if you let them down on something as simple, they are going to come at you. Resolving a problem faced by a customer is not always simple and if it is coupled with customer anger, then you can be sure that your company is messing up. Despite the difficulty, if your company is adept in providing the best, most effective and speedy resolution, you can have yourself a satisfied customer. Get your customer to smile by adding a complementary something, acknowledging the inconvenience they faced and assuring them that it will never happen again. The complementary stuff does not need to be of great monetary value but it should have value in the eyes of your customer. Something that shows the customer that you are truly sorry for the inconvenience they have faced, that you value them as a customer and are genuinely trying to make the relationship work.

If the customer is appeased, great! However, if the problem cause the customer major inconvenience and or embarrassment it is unlikely that a freebie will hold much weight. The customer would need to be spoken to, to ascertain what exactly would be required to set this straight. It could cost you considerable time and money but will be worth it since an angry customer is vocal and has the potential to damage your reputation. If a company does not make amends in the ‘right’ way then they might as well make peace with losing the customer forever. This parting could have serious repercussions though:
– The earning from the customer would be gone for good
– Other customers who may be associates or tied in with your customer, would go too
– The angry customer could and most probably will tarnish your reputation especially by talking about the bad service over social media. This will be seen by millions of people around the world and could cripple your chances of getting potential customers
– Such a customer would still need service and hence move on to a competitor, which could hurt your business even more

4. Moving on and forward

Once you have been able to resolve the customer’s problem, it should become your company’s issue to ensure that this or any other problem does not surface with this particular customer. You can be sure that nothing would be possible to alleviate the customer anger if it happens again. Ensure that the resolution is permanent and also delve in to your company’s service, process and products to make sure that things are working fine and do away or fix with what is not.

The fact is that there will always be some reason or the other for customer anger. Customer service is handled by humans and just on that premise cannot be perfect. However, as a company it is your responsibility to ensure that the service lapses and frequency of customer issues is kept to the minimum and customer anger kept at bay. Doing so will enhance your company’s reputation and earn customer loyalty.

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