Customer service is always part of any business. So whether you are running an e-commerce business or a traditional brick and mortar store, you will have to be ready to face different kinds of customers and provide good or even the best customer service experience.
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft.
Customers love to complain. With the rise of internet technology and the surge of social media, customers are able to air out their frustrations in any form they find possible. This is a challenge to your business. And you know that if you are not able to address the problem soon, it could harm your business in many ways.
So how do you deal with angry customers online?
The most challenging types of customers that you will have to address are frustrated, angry, and irate customers. Most of these customers can either communicate with you directly or give you a negative feedback straight away. Negative feedback is a huge factor that you want to correct immediately especially if you are dropshipping on eBay.
When you receive a customer complaint from any of your communication channels, it is important to respond 100% of the time. Responding to customer complaints at the soonest time possible is essential to correct the problem.
Listen and Understand
First and foremost know that your customers are not angry at you. So, therefore, don’t take it personally. Instead, gain ownership and control of the issue but never get emotional in the process.
This is the stage that your customer is high with frustrations. So expect them to be angry with words. Let them vent out without interruption. Listen and understand where they are coming from.
An apology lets the customer know that you understand their frustration. It makes the irate customer feel heard and understood. It somehow diffuses their anger and helps them calm down. Your apology allows you to re-establish trust. Apologize to customers regardless of fault.
Studies show that an apology thwarts lawsuits and amasses positive publicity. Not only that, but a genuine apology after a service failure actually strengthens a customer’s emotional bond to a company. — Myra Golden
According to studies, an apology alone reduces lawsuits, settlements, and defense cost. An apology will have to be carefully delivered with a tone of sincerity.
One of the most effective ways to help an angry customer is to empathize. Use empathy effectively by using the right words. Put aside your own viewpoint and validate your customer’s perspective.
Empathy is simply recognizing emotions in others, and being able to “put yourself in another person’s shoes” – understanding the other person’s perspective and reality. — mindtools.com
Offer a Realistic Solution
While irate customers calm down, they have only one thing in mind – to receive a solution to their problem. We all know that we are not able to resolve all possible customer complaints especially if it is beyond our control.
So the best way to do this is to assess the problem, explain the situation, and provide a solution that you can do in line with the situation. Do not promise the sun and the moon or solutions that are not possible.
Ask for more time to resolve the problem
There are issues that can be resolved almost immediately. However, there are issues that will require time like replacement of order that will need to go through a process. Provide a time period when they can expect the replacement. Follow up on the customer when you can get back to them with a possible solution.
Follow up with the customer
Get back to the customer within the time period mentioned. This is important. You want to make sure that the issue had been resolved and that customer satisfaction is received.
As in the example cited above, if you have given a time period for a replacement, get back to the customer at the time you think they should have already received the replacement.
This is also the perfect time to request for a customer feedback or for customer reviews.
The use of the right words will help you calm an angry customer and regain their trust. Calmly respond with an apology.
“I apologize for your inconvenience (apologize). I understand where you are coming from and I know how frustrating it can be (empathize). Here is what I can do (realistic solution). “
This line of response acknowledges the problem by apologizing, it empathizes with the customer by understanding and offers a solution by stating what you can do. This is a very good way to help the customer and at the same time rebuild trust and confidence in your brand.