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1. Don't take it personally. Understand that most angry customers aren't angry with you personally, but rather with the situation in which they currently find themselves. They may be frustrated and, until you hear them out, you have no idea why. 2. Let them vent. Part of being good at customer service is letting the customer feel that he has the floor. Let him tell you the entire story. Take notes if it is long or involved. Only after the customer has felt like he has said his peace should you attempt to solve his problem. Make sure you are actively listening to what he is saying and what he is not saying. Sometimes you can tell more about what would satisfy a customer by paying attention to what your customer didn't say or by the nonverbal cues your customer gives out -than you can by the words he chooses. 3. Ask for clarification if there is something that you do not understand. Better to ask what may seem like a dumb question then to start off on the wrong path to solve his problem. If you begin by answering a question he didn't ask, the anger will only intensify. Make sure you know what it is that happened and perhaps what he wants done about it before you begin. 4. Validate your customer. Sympathize and empathize with your customer as much as possible. Tell him you are sorry that he is so frustrated. This is not the same as admitting fault or accepting blame for the situation. It just further lets your customer know that you are there to help him and are interested in his welfare and not just the company's bottom line. Otherwise your reactions to his anger or your responses to his statements may serve only to fuel the customer's anger. 5. State back to the customer what you heard him say. To make sure you didn't misunderstand, state back to the customer what you heard him say is the problem. This way you can clear up any last minute details before you get into the answer with him. 6. You don't have to have all the answers. Saying "I don't know." may be the correct answer to the customer's question. One of the worst things you can do is to pretend to know the answer only to find that it won't work for the customer. Be honest and tell the customer you will have to find out for him and call him back. Ask him if he can hold if the answer is within reach. Make sure you follow up with the customer when you said you would! 7. Share your commonalities with your customer instead of focusing on the differences. Identify with him by bringing out something that you both have in common. Perhaps share a short story about something similar that happened to you. 8. Tell your customer what you can do for him. If you can do exactly what your customer wants, fantastic! If you can't, have another proposal ready that would be a good fit for your customer. If you feel it is warranted (and if you can), offer a freebie or a discount on another product to show good faith. 9. If your suggestion doesn't appeal to the customer, ask him what he would like you to do and see if you can accommodate him. Sometimes your customer may not even know what he wants from you. Stating this may help your customer realize that they are being unreasonable. Or perhaps your customer will come up with a way that will work for him that you would never have thought of on your own. 10. Explain why you may be limited in what you can do. If it simply isn't possible to do what he wants or if it is just too costly for your company to do this, explain that openly and honestly with your customer. 11. Thank your customer for bringing this to your attention. If they have brought an issue to your attention that will allow you to better meet the needs of your other customers, this is a good thing for you to know! Thank your customer for allowing you to provide better service or a better product to your customers. They will appreciate knowing that not only did you help them with their problem, but that they were the catalyst for a positive change in your company. I'm impressd with RAnger22's answer. I agree with it if they are being reasonable or I think they have a valid gripe. However, if they are there to unload on me or are trying to get somthing for free, I don't put up with it. I've tossed customers out of the shop as well as written letters to some asking them not to return. There are some customers that are not worth the grief, no matter how green their money is. If my sanity is at stake, I don't sugarcoat it. I love the first post and it is absolutely correct in dealing with customers, but, sadly that's not the case in most instances and as a consumer I have come across more employees in a store that didn't know their products or didn't have the answers or even try to get the answers. In all fairness many companies hire part-time or students and expect them to deal with some complex questions by customers and the new employees are not there long enough to give proper answers. I know also that Managers can be conveniently "out of the store!" I'm an easy going person and I never get angry at the salesperson. However, if I am in the store for a complaint or to take something back I expect some satisfaction. I also agree with the 2nd poster. No manager or salesperson should ever have to take abuse from ANY customer. If I am not treated fairly in a store then they DON'T have to worry about me coming back!

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2006-08-30 03:22:46
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Q: How do you deal with angry customers?
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