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How to soothe a disgruntled customer

There is always good and bad when it comes to dealing with the public. We have all had our share of negative experiences when faced with an angry customer. Customer complaints are a fact of life. No matter how great our products and services are there are going to be mistakes, misunderstandings, and unhappy people. It could be over the quality of the product, price, service, or the mind-set of the customer. Some complaints can be handled smoothly and easily, and others can reach high levels of unhappiness and hostility. Is it true that the customer is always right? Well, all of us may not agree with that statement, but in the heat of the moment, how do you soothe a disgruntled customer?

It is crucial to let them know that you are sorry.
It may not have been your fault nor had anything to do with you, but those simple words can calm someone down fairly quick. For the most part, customers who yell at sales people are already expecting their request to be rejected or denied by the sales person. This puts the customer on the defensive and that is usually why they are irate in the first placeBthey=re expecting a fight. Remove the angry customer=s defensive attitude by reminding yourself that their complaint, no matter how dumb it may seem to you, is legitimate to them and therefore important. It is better to swallow your pride for a moment and apologize than to be in the middle of an embarrassing scene.

Ask to fix the problem in a calming and empathetic voice.
Ask questions that can help fix the problem like: AWhat would you like me to do about it?@ or AHow can we make this up to you?@ This will help the disgruntled customer feel like they can give input to help solve the problem. Asking these questions with an empathetic tone will in turn help soothe the disgruntled customer. It may be hard to stay calm when being yelled at, but just remember how you would like to be treated if you were the customer.

Do you fix it quickly and fairly?
There are many things that can be done quickly to fix the problem. You can easily make a peace offering: offer free service, a trade in, an extended warranty, or even in-store credit. If you are not in management and can=t make those decisions, then ask a manager or boss to offer them. The customer needs to feel like something is being done immediately to right the wrong.

Do you follow up on your promises?

Nothing loses a customer faster than giving them a reconciliation offer, and then not honoring your word. Once they have accepted your offer, remember to stick with it. Follow up with the customer and with management if necessary to make sure the promise was honored. The last thing you want is another run in with your favorite angry customer.

Soothing a disgruntled customer may not always be pleasant and the customer may not always be right, but it is necessary to quickly resolve the problem and always remember to stay calm. A customer's complaint doesn't have to be the end of a relationship with that customer. Studies have shown that customers whose complaints are handled well are often more loyal to a company than those customers who have never had a problem at all. At least a customer who complains and has their complaint resolved is more valuable to you than one who is unhappy but never tells you about it.

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