Angry customer on the other side of the chat? This is how to properly deal with such situations
Like with any other form of customer service, you can also encounter angry customers with live chat, but, like with every other form of customer service, there are ways to deal with such customers adequately, because live chat is intended as an additional service toward your customers, and not as a means to scare them away. So, what should you do if you’re faced with an angry customer? Follow these LiveChat Pro tips!
Various examples can be given of how angry customers should not be assisted, regardless of the channel, but we would like to teach you more about how to do this properly. For this, a few things are important. Of these, central themes are displaying an understanding attitude, showing empathy and being patient. We should mention, however, that if customers are unhappy, in actuality, you’re already too late. With the tips below, you can also prevent this from happening. But luckily, there are always plenty of opportunities to make amends. Read our tips on dealing with crabby customers below.
Ensure good communication
Communication is key to almost every customer contact moment. It is important that customers feel understood and sense that you are there to help them. Place yourself in their shoes and try to understand why they’re angry. Frustration is often caused by bad communication, so be patient and listen well to what they’re telling you. Don’t interrupt your customers and provide them with the information they need. In this way, you can show your customers that you care about their situation and regain their trust.
You could show customers that you’re listening to what they’re saying by repeating what they just said, for example. This is also a helpful tool when dealing with someone who is unreasonable. By repeating what they just said to you, customers can experience how odd, illogical or unreasonable they sounded.
Also, provide clarifications for the situation, and do not engage the customer in too many discussions. Of course, this tip also depends on the arguments being presented by and the reasonableness of customers, but generally speaking, it is better to compromise a little than to position yourself in full opposition to your customers.
Take your time
Time is a central issue for many companies, because time is money and the aim of the game is to maximise revenues while saving as much as possible. Nonetheless, customers aren’t all alike, and if you’re dealing with an angry customer, it is better to take your time to adequately solve the situation, rather than rush through the problem. Sometimes, you have to set aside your performance goals to prevent greater future damage to your company. From the bad examples we previously mentioned, we can conclude that, if more time had been taken to provide an adequate response, the damage could have been limited.
Personally address your customers
Another tip we can give you is to always address your customers using their first and/or last name. Which of these is best depends on the type of company you have and your policy. Addressing someone by their name makes the conversation more personal and gives customers the feeling you are only talking to them and are giving them your undivided attention. Try to have a policy that addresses customers by their first name as much as possible. This will reduce the distance between you and your customers by making the conversation more informal.
Give customers options
If you’re unable to assist customers in the exact way they desire, it could be a solution to provide other options. Avoid dead-end streets that involve endlessly repeating your points. Be creative and make sure your employees have options to be flexible and meet customers halfway in various ways.
For example, offer customers a discount when purchasing a certain product or give them the option of receiving a small gift with their next order. In this way, you can show customers that you are willing to offer something (even though you might not be the one in the wrong) to put them at ease. The customer is king, so keep him happy and he will return to you.
Allow your customers to blow off steam
If customers are in a rage and virtually “screaming” at you, allow them to blow off steam. They often simply need to get rid of pent-up frustrated energy. Remain calm, and if things really get ugly look the other way so that your customers can let themselves go for a bit. They will often be more reasonable later and open to a reasonable conversation. Always stay calm and don’t be discouraged.
Should you also become frustrated because a customer is completely unreasonable, you can easily turn to a colleague to complain, because your customers won’t hear you speak anyway. Make sure that there isn’t someone talking to someone on the phone nearby.
At the same time, it is sometimes also okay to tell customers they’ve crossed the line if they are being verbally abusive. Patiently tell them that you do not appreciate their use of language or tone, and indicate that you cannot be of service in this manner. Always make sure you remain friendly and that you do not give the customer further incentive to be angry.
Apologise, even if you didn’t do anything wrong
Sometimes customers simply want to hear you say “we’re sorry”. Don’t be afraid to say you’re sorry. It is especially important to set aside your pride and admit that you are to blame for the problem if the problem was caused by your company. Apologise, and make sure your apology sounds authentic. Examples:
“We’re sorry to hear you’ve had an unpleasant experience.”
“Our apologies for this unpleasant situation. We’re working hard to find out the cause.”
“We understand your situation and would like to solve it for you.”
Make sure your personnel are consistent
There is nothing more bewildering to customers than a company’s customer service not being consistent in its actions and adherence to a policy. The result is a loss of credibility. If, as a customer, you are faced with a problem that is complicated and not easy to solve, you are often required to deal with multiple people.
It could occur that, at one point, you’re dealing with a very pleasant and customer-oriented person, while later, you’re talking to someone with the exact opposite characteristics. Employees who might not enjoy their jobs, lack the energy to deal with your problem and/or are unwilling to listen to you. Sometimes, they’re even snappy and rude. Of course, the fact that this is unacceptable is non-negotiable.
As a company, you must always offer your customers a positive experience. Therefore, make sure that you have a very clear policy, so that everybody knows what they need to be doing and the objective of your customer service – to provide good and friendly service – is clear. Make sure you’re aware of frustrated and/or demotivated members of personnel, and whether negativity has been ongoing for some time. Provide a solution before things get out of hand. You only need one bad message to be posted on social media to suffer serious damage to your company’s image.
Properly close conversations
After you have come to an agreement with customers, don’t immediately close the chat window, because this is precisely the moment that you can offer a little extra. At the very least, ask customers whether there’s anything you can be of assistance with. If customers respond with a yes, you can immediately solve the next problem, thereby making sure that customers do not need to contact you again. If they respond with a no, this is the confirmation you need that they are ready to say goodbye.
By asking customers whether there is anything else you can help them with, customers will get the feeling you were prepared to help them with other matters, even if they did not require additional assistance. And this is precisely the way you want to leave customers; feeling warm inside and perhaps realising that their own behaviour wasn’t entirely acceptable.
Whatever customers say, remind yourself that what they say isn’t directed at you personally, but at the company. Are you employing live chat, but aren’t things going quite the way you’d like them to? Go through our tips to boost your live chat channel. Not yet started with live chat, or have you started live chat, but you aren’t sure whether you can handle it on your own? Answer our six questions to determine whether it is better to outsource your live chat.