You’ve seen it.
A helpful, considerate customer representative is doing their best to address an upset customer’s concerns, who only seems to get more and more irate. No solution is enough to calm them down!
A similar scenario can be aggravating, especially if you are on the receiving end of an angry customer. Sometimes, it seems like you won’t fix something to their satisfaction, no matter how hard you try.
So why do some customers get so upset?
Is there even a way to help them without being attacked?
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How to solve the problem of an upset customer
It can be challenging to keep your cool when a customer rages about something you do not control. But it’s critical to listen to what they are saying without judgment.
Customer service is usually the last place that the customer wants to be!
Before contacting customer support, most people will try everything they can think of – and when these solutions don’t work out, their frustration grows.
So how do you soothe the situation?
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why your customers might be upset.
First things first, determine the cause
Determining the cause of an issue is the first step in solving it. Before taking any other actions, understand why the customer is upset.
This may sound simple, but all too many customer service reps automatically assume the issue before the customer can even tell them.
Listen carefully to everything that the customer says BEFORE prescribing a solution to them.
There is nothing more frustrating than someone telling you to try something that you have already done.
Blowing off customers is a great way to tank your business’s reviews and reputation, so really make sure you understand your customer.
Reason #1: Timing is everything
Customers will often complain when they order a product or service that does not arrive quickly enough. While you may be working your tail off to keep your business running smoothly, a customer will not see that from the outside.
Customers will tell you that your product takes too long to get to them, and they may even try to cancel their order if your shipping or delivery is not fast enough. So how do you fix this?
How to fix
Give your customers a peek behind-the-scenes and let them know how you pack and ship each order. You can create a short video or make a process infographic like the one below.
You can also supply them with a tracking number or send updates when their order moves locations. It’s also a great way to keep their worries at bay. The customer will have a much better idea of when to expect their order, and they won’t feel like they’ve been shut out of the process.
When dealing with an upset customer, remember that timing is everything.
Another of the most common customer complaints is the time it takes for them to get service. Always address customer concerns as soon as they arise.
Sitting and stewing will only exacerbate a customer’s mood, so it’s essential to address their concerns as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The key to remember when it comes to timing issues is communication.
Tell your customer if something has happened to their order or if their wait time may be longer than usual. They will appreciate the openness and treat you like more of an ally than an enemy.
Reason #2: Inaccurate inventory
You have a responsibility to keep your product pages and descriptions up to date with accurate information.
If you don’t, your customers will be furious to receive something completely different from what they ordered! And understandably so.
You can imagine the frustration that comes with inaccurate product descriptions. It can drive anyone up a wall, and your customers will not appreciate any slacking on your part when it comes to updating product information.
How to fix
Always double-check your website if you change any aspect of a product. Sometimes, it can help to have a friend visit your website for you to let you know if there are any problems and provide a set of fresh eyes.
Equally egregious is not updating your inventory. Customers who order something without knowing it is out of stock are in for an unpleasant surprise.
Don’t leave your paying customers out to dry; always update your inventory!
Customers will be much less upset at seeing an out-of-stock notice instead of finding out their order doesn’t even exist.
Reason #3: Pricing problems
“That’s too expensive!”
You may pride yourself on your quality products, but price points are important for customer retention.
How to Fix
Value your product accurately when selling it to avoid squabbles over price. Your customers do not know everything that goes into creating your product. For all they know, it could be worth pennies on the dollar! Alternatively, you can communicate product value by sharing your creation process.
Your price needs to take into consideration the labor and materials you have used to create your product.
Do not try to overcharge your customers simply because you can, or they will let you know how unhappy they are.
Next, surprises can be a good thing, but don’t spring hidden fees and add-ons to your customers’ orders! Gotchas may earn you a quick buck on one or two orders, but once those customers tell their friends about your pricing policy and leave bad reviews, your brand reputation is at stake.
Finally, be upfront with what you charge for specific products or services. When a customer is taken to the checkout screen, there should be a clear list of everything they’re supposed to pay and why.
An explanation for each of the fees will show that you are reasonable with your business and not trying to gouge your customers.
Each customer is different
Don’t forget that each of your customers is a unique human being with their wants, needs, and experiences.
What will satisfy one customer will not cut it for another. Treat each case as its own incident.
Also, keep in mind that while this may be one customer out of hundreds, you are the only business they are using for your particular product.
While your customer service reps will deal with tons of people every day, these people will most likely only speak to one customer service representative.
So when your customer service rep starts to get tired of the same problem over and over, don’t allow them to treat each customer the same.
For the final point – fix your problems!
If multiple customers are all complaining about the same issue when dealing with your company, you need to address that issue ASAP, or you might lose business.
For bonus points, you can reach out to customers after fixing the issue to thank them for bringing it to your attention. Studies show that customers view companies better when they fix problems than if they never had that problem in the first place. Who knows, these customers might even become your biggest brand advocates!
Look, everybody has their bad days. You may occasionally run into a customer who complains a lot. But that doesn’t mean that you can just lay back and let them steamroll you. Find solutions for your customers, and they will thank you in the long run.
Guest author: Kai Tomboc is the resident wordsmith for Easelly, makers of a simple infographic maker tool, and an information design service studio. When not engrossed in a book, she’s most likely taming tardigrades or trying really hard to perfect her one-handed kettlebell swing.