Good morning! Jerry K here.
This is a very practical topic to cover over the next few minutes.
Now be ready, because you could need this post today (ie, one of your customers could erupt like Mr Vesuvius by 12 noon)!
In the past, when I have been working with either my own client or with those of an employer, I would occasionally have to serve someone who is angry, frustrated or downright furious.
There could be a number of reasons why a customer or client would be in ‘the red zone’ from the very start of the conversation. We can talk about those reasons in another post.
For now, let’s call our angry client ‘Martin’.
Regardless of the reason behind Martin’s anger, there are some simple things that we have to cover with Martin within the first 5 minutes if we want to be able to calm him down and work towards solving the foundational issues.
Only THEN do we have a chance to fix the issues and turn Martin back into a happy, peaceful client or customer.
Here are the things that I have done in those situations to deal with an angry Martin:
- Let him talk without interrupting him, unless you cannot actually hear or understand him. In that case, politely interrupt and tell him that he needs to speak more slowly or whatever SO THAT YOU CAN HEAR HIM BETTER.
Example: “I’m sorry Martin, my name is Jerry, and I am trying to help you. Your phone line is a bit crackly. Could you please speak a bit slower? I want to be able to hear you so that I can help you with this issue.”
First, this is where I insert my name. I am telling him that I am a real person, not a nameless company employee. I try to build a one-on-one conversation so that Martin does not treat me as a company punching bag to take out his frustrations. I am here to help him.
This also states that it will HELP HIM if he slows down. It is a benefit to HIM as a customer, not just a benefit to me as the business owner or sales consultant. The emphasis is on HIM and his needs.
2. Next, if there is ANY part of the problem that is the responsibility of our company, I stop and apologize right away. Even if there are factors for which the customer is partly to blame, I take responsibility for our part without delay.
Example: “Martin, on behalf of the company, I apologize that the order arrived 2 days later than we promised. I will look into the reasons why that happened, but apologies for how that affected you and your family.”
That allows some of the anger to dissipate, mainly because customers often are expecting to have to fight their corner against uncaring business owners or service agents. If I take responsibility for our part of the problem, it helps them to feel that they are being listened to–which helps lessen the tension and aids in finding a solution to their primary issues.
3. Finally, I take personal responsibility and promise to take immediate action. Martin does not want to be blindly transferred to some other department and have to explain all of that mess again. He wants someone to take charge and make progress with his main issues.
Example: “Again, Martin, my name is Jerry. I am sorry for the stress this is caused you. I am going to do the following right now. I am going to speak to my business partner to find out what happened in this situation, I get the facts and details for you, and then I will ring you back in 30-45 minutes to fill you in on the situation. I want to get this sorted out for you. Is that OK with you?”
By promising my personal attention, immediate action and personal reply to him, Martin can begin to relax a bit because he knows that SOMEONE is working for him and with him to solve the problem. Even if the customer has some fault or responsibility in this instance, he will be more likely to hear it and accept it IF I HAVE TAKEN RESPONSILIBILTY FIRST.
Doesn’t that make sense?
Sometimes, it is all the client’s fault. I can’t help that. However, I can take ownership of the problem and work WITH him rather than work AGAINST him. That gives me a chance to actually BUILD the working relationship during this heated situation.
So, my friend, be encouraged. Read through this post a few times and take it all in.
You might get that kind of phone call or office visit today!
If so, follow those steps and use the situation to show your client how VALUABLE they are to you and your company. It will strenghten your relationship with them instead of blowing it out of the water.
Look for my next post.
Have a brilliant day,
Jerry K, Director
P.S. Did this post help you? Want more practical advice and strategies for building your relationships with your customers? Good…………………….I want to help you to build your business……………..talk soon.