The complete toolkit for how to deal with angry customers
Do you know how to turn upset customers into happy ones? It begins with mastering the art of handling angry customers.
Recently, a survey conducted by Microsoft highlights that customers can build brand loyalty. It says 60% of customers have a deep appreciation for brands that resolve their complaints promptly. But, if you fail to provide a positive customer experience, they will feel angry and complain about their negative experiences.
Based on the study by Esteban Kolsky, unhappy customers will share their experience with 15 or more people. Most of them won’t even care to complain about their experience; they’ll just stop using your product.
But there’s a good side to customer complaints. A study by Harvard Business Review quoted that if the complaint is handled within 5 minutes, then customers are willing to pay extra for the service in the future.
So, how to deal with angry customers and analyze their complaints?
Well, most customers are not as difficult as they seem. By following a simple formula, you can handle them on your own and turn them into happy customers.
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Psychology of Customer Anger
Dealing with angry customers can be tough. They might shout, demand to speak to your manager, and make unreasonable requests. But don’t let them intimidate you. The key is to create a separate service approach with a zen mind and compassion for handling the tense situation.
Remember, it’s not about you. Customers are upset, and you’re the person with whom they can share their negative emotions. Handling angry customers on the phone is different than dealing with them through email or chat. Start by understanding the reasons behind their anger. Stay calm, empathetic, and focused on finding the solutions to resolve their concerns.
Common reasons for customer anger and their triggers
Product or service issues
- Dissatisfaction with product quality: Customers expect products to meet their standards. If a product malfunctions, has defects, or doesn't perform as advertised, it leads to frustration.
- Inadequate service delivery: Businesses must meet customer needs for a positive experience. Failure in performance and service delivery can result in disappointment and dissatisfied customers.
- Hidden charges: Transparent pricing is essential. Unexpected costs or undisclosed fees can breach trust and irate customers, leading to customer frustration.
Unfulfilled promises: Unmet assurances, whether about product performance or delivery, create a sense of betrayal and disappointment.
Misunderstanding and communication
- Lack of clarity: Precise information is a must for clarity. Hidden costs or unclear information can lead to upset customers and dissatisfaction.
- Language barrier: Miscommunication can confuse customers. Therefore, employing multilingual customer service teams ensures clear and accurate communication, preventing misunderstandings.
- Unresponsive attitude: Ignoring customers makes them feel disrespected. Remaining calm and giving attentive responses help customers feel heard.
- Lack of empathy: Empathy is key in addressing customer’s concerns. Businesses must understand and collaborate with many customers to find suitable solutions.
Unfulfilled expectations and a sense of unfairness
- Unfulfilled expectations: When a product lacks essential features, it disappoints customers and destroys trust in the brand.
- Unfair treatment: Inconsistent cost and biased decision-making creates negative emotions. For this, equality is the key to maintaining professionalism.
- Changing policies: Sudden policy changes disrupt customer workflows, leading to upset and distress.
- Lack of responsibility: Companies must acknowledge their mistake and take responsibility. And quick resolution is essential to rebuild trust.
Past negative experience
- History of negative experiences: Continuous delays from the past can frustrate customers. Therefore, addressing past issues can prevent ongoing dissatisfaction.
- Personal frustrations: Recognize and understand customer frustrations to foster positive interactions.
- Unrealistic expectations: Clear communication manages expectations, preventing frustration from unrealistic demands.
- Cultural differences: Being culturally sensitive and adjusting communication styles ensure smoother interactions in a global business context.
Understanding the impact of angry customers
Angry customers can harm a business’s reputation and finances. Chances are they might not return, spread negative reviews, increase customer service costs, and decrease employee morale. However, their feedback can be valuable for improvements in products or services if used effectively. The best way to do this is by addressing customer concerns promptly and maintaining a positive work environment.
Also, a study shows that only 1 in 25 unhappy customers complain directly to you, while the majority will leave without informing the company. Therefore, it’s essential to hear the customer’s issue, investigate it, and offer quick solutions to prevent future complaints.
Some of the key ways in which angry customers can affect a business are:
- Damage to reputation
- Loss of customer loyalty
- Negative word-of-mouth
- Impact on employee morale
- Financial consequences
It’s important to note that not all angry customers are unreasonable. Few may be justified in their anger, especially if they have been the victim of poor customer service. In such cases, it’s essential to understand the customer and resolve the customer’s complaint.
How to communicate effectively with angry customers
Active listening techniques
Active listening is a communication method that is more than just listening to the words, it’s about understanding the intent of the speaker and connecting with them emotionally. It involves full engagement with the speaker both mentally and physically, along with understanding the message and emotions. Active listeners show empathy, avoid judgment, and provide feedback to ensure that the speaker feels heard.
The three A’s of active listening are
- Attitude - Approach the conversion with an open mind and don’t be judgemental.
- Attention - Give the customer undivided attention and put away all distractions, including phones or laptops.
- Adjustment - Do not interrupt or try to steer the conversation in a different direction.
For instance, actively listening and understanding a client’s specific challenges in a negotiation can lead to tailored solutions, strengthening the business partnership.
Effective tips to become an active listener
- Pay attention and stay focused
- Encourage detailed responses and ask open-ended questions.
- Seek clear explanations when required.
- Repeat what you have understood in words.
- Ask probing questions to get a deeper understanding.
- Summarize and recap the key points.
- Understand the customer’s feelings and respond empathetically.
Handle difficult customers with empathy
Empathy is an emotion that helps to handle difficult customers and in providing the best customer experience. When dealing with angry customers, it’s important to show genuine empathy and support the team to stay calm.
Here’s how you handle irate customers with empathy
Make them feel heard - Let the customer vent their frustration without interruption. Use statements like, “ I understand why you feel frustrated.” Make them feel important and that you understand their concern.
- De-escalate the situation - Avoid responding to the customers with anger. Acknowledge their experience with a statement like, “Thank you for sharing your experience with us”, and assure them that you’ll give your best to help.
- Show genuine concern - Apologize sincerely to solve the problem efficiently and then promise to follow up to make the customer feel good. A small apology will help defuse the situation and open ways for resolution.
Positive language and tone
Choosing positive words makes a lot of difference when dealing with angry customers. Using negative words makes the situation worse and can escalate tension. Therefore, it’s necessary to employ positive language, which can diffuse the situation and foster a more cooperative atmosphere. Craft your response, and go the extra mile to find the root cause of the customer’s issue. Convey a willingness to assist and collaborate on finding the right solution to make customers feel good.
Some key positive language tips include
- Acknowledge valid concerns to show empathy in a professional tone.
- Try affirmative language by using words like “absolutely” and “definitely” to show commitment.
- Focus on finding solutions rather than blaming customers.
- Express willingness to help and find the right solution.
Solutions to handle angry customers
Respecting customer concerns
Make sure you always listen to angry customers and respect their feedback, as they have complained for a reason. One of the studies shows that customers always care for quality rather than a fast response. Therefore, take time to practice active listening and understand customer’s anger personally to make them feel heard.
Finding the right fix
When your customers complain about their experience with the customer service team regarding the quality of your product or service, you need to find the root cause and offer the right fix to them. Provide your customer service team the authority to handle the customer’s issues and notify your manager of the same. Use the OneCRM tool to get a list of customer issues, repeated issues, and other complaints on one page.
To balance customers’ expectations means to provide positive solutions by communicating clearly and honestly about the steps you’ll take to address their concerns. For this customer, transparency and clarity is the key to managing customer expectations and building trust.
For example, customers notice small details, especially when they’re upset. How you treat them matters a lot and can affect your relationship with them in the long run. Therefore, it’s necessary to exceed expectations and help dissatisfied customers remain calm.
Staying calm under pressure
Customers need to stay calm under pressure, which involves maintaining composure and a clear mindset during challenging situations. All it requires is managing emotions, thinking rationally, and making informed decisions, even in stressful situations. Most companies practice active listening skills to get emotionally involved with the customer’s issues and deal with angry customers.
Learning from feedback
Listening and learning from customer feedback, including complaints, is essential for business growth. Addressing customer complaints effectively not only solves immediate issues but also contributes to building a positive reputation globally. Embracing feedback as a learning opportunity can lead to improved products, services, and customer services.
Empowering your team
Get to learn from upset customers as they teach valuable lessons. Their complaints often highlight areas where the service can be improved. Share this feedback with the team, including project managers, designers, and developers, to work together to find the right solutions. To manage your customer and support team together, DevRev is the best modern AI platform to help your team work on the same page.
Email template for responding to angry customers
If a customer had a poor service experience with your brand
If there was no response to the customer’s previous email
If the customer left a negative review
If the customer is leaving
Live chat templates for unhappy customers
Template 1: Acknowledging and apologizing for the issue
Customer: I'm so frustrated with your product! It's not working the way it's supposed to, and I'm losing time and money.
Agent: I'm really sorry to hear that you're having trouble with our product. I understand your frustration, and I'm here to help. Please explain more about what's going on so I can troubleshoot the issue.
Template 2: Actively listening and showing empathy
Customer: I'm very tired of being passed around from one support representative to another. I just want to speak to a manager or someone who can fix this problem.
Agent: I completely understand your frustration. It can be very upsetting to have to repeat your issue to multiple people. Let me assure you that you're in the right hands now. I'm going to stay with you until we get this resolved.
Template 3: Providing follow-up and checking for satisfaction
Customer: I hope you can fix this problem. I really need this product for my business.
Agent: I'm confident that we can get this resolved for you. I assure you that I will keep you updated on the progress of your case. In the meantime, please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions or concerns.
Template 4: Offering a discount or other incentive as a gesture of goodwill
Customer: I'm not sure I want to continue doing business with your company after this experience.
Agent: I'm so sorry to hear that. I value your business, and I want to do everything possible to make things right. I'd like to offer you a 20% discount on your next purchase as a gesture of goodwill. I hope you'll give us another chance to show you what we can do.
Turning angry customers into loyal customers
Sometimes, dealing with angry customers can be a challenging task, and it presents a unique opportunity for businesses to show their commitment to customer satisfaction and foster a growth mindset.
When faced with an irate customer, the first step for any support team is to allow customers to express their negative emotions. Respond to them with respect and patience.
Equip your team with tools for handling difficult customers and transform their poor experiences into positive ones. Strengthen your relationship with your customers and turn your angry clients into loyal customers. One of the best intelligent live chatbot tools, OneCRM would use its modern AI-native platform and respond to customers' queries along with offering immediate support.