Techniques for Engaging Angry Customers
When customers are angry, they frequently stop listening. Before you can begin to address the reason for their anger, you must bridge this communication gap by engaging them again in constructive communication.
The ability to engage angry customers is a valuable skill that anyone can learn. Cultivating this ability starts with an understanding of your own reaction to conflict. By studying your own reaction to anger, you will be able to identify your conflict management weaknesses, find coping mechanisms, and improve how you handle conflict situations.
Discovering your own weaknesses in conflict situations and learning to cope will make a major difference in your conflict management abilities, but a few more techniques will also come in handy.
One especially useful technique in conflict management situations is to acknowledge the customer’s feelings. This doesn’t mean you have to agree with the customer but the customer should see that you hear their concerns and care about their level of frustration.
Another helpful technique is to apologize to the customer for the frustration and inconvenience. It is, however, unwise to apologize for your product, service, or company. In other words, apologize for what the customer is feeling without speaking out against your company.
Finally, if you find yourself getting angry, think of someone you know who seems harsh on the outside but has a heart of gold on the inside. Many people find visualizing this type of person during a conflict helps them to overcome their resentment and keep their cool.
Following through with Conflict Resolution
Customer problems and complaints are opportunities to show how quickly and efficiently your organization resolves conflicts. Companies skilled in conflict resolution quickly regain customer confidence, and they may even receive praise or a referral for their efforts.
Research shows that 70 percent of customers who lodge a complaint will give a company new business as long as the issue is settled to their satisfaction. If the complaint is handled on the spot, that percentage increases to 95 percent.
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