Customer Experience News & Trends

5 ways to take angry customers from ticked to tickled

Bad things happen to good customers — and some will let their fury run loose where they can be heard. Here’s the fastest way to take them to an I’m-happy-with-your-company state of mind.

“Every company makes mistakes that could make them lose customers,” says John Tschohl, President of the Service Quality Institute. “But the smart companies know how to recover customers and turn them into loyal customers for life.”

Customers are usually their angriest when companies make mistakes. The best way to recover from those mistakes without losing customers is to act fast — ideally, faster than they can turn to social media to share their anger in an even larger forum.

Make a direct connection

Tschohl recommends anyone who has direct contact with angry customers take these steps when helping:

  1. Act immediately. Respond to a complaint with a promise to take action nearly immediately (within a few seconds of hearing it). Say (or write), “I hear your concerns and am here to work with you on this.”
  2. Apologize and offer a better option. When things go wrong, go in prepared to respond to customers with one or two alternative solutions to the issue.
  3. Take responsibility. Ideally, the person who fields the complaint should be the one who follows through, resolves it and makes the customer happy. If customers hear, “I need a manager’s approval” or anything like that, they’ll only get more upset.
  4. Make things better. In addition to making things right, employees dealing with angry customers need to have something they can give as a “thanks for your loyalty” gesture. For instance, an extension on a warranty, expedited shipping, free samples, etc.
  5. Follow up. Never assume that upset customers will be happy because you’ve resolved something and thrown in a bonus. Follow up a day or two later to make sure they’re still pleased with outcome.

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