We will all deal with this type of situation eventually. Here are some ways to help defuse the situation before it becomes a disaster or you lose a great customer.
An unfortunate side effect of being a business owner is that you will almost surely encounter the occasional legitimately angry customer. It’s hard enough dealing with a customer who is rude or pushy, but it’s worse when you encounter a customer who is truly, justifiably angry.
The first and perhaps most important thing to do is simply listen. This is particularly important in cases where a customer is understandably angry. Every business makes mistakes. Business owners have bad days, too. But it doesn’t make it any easier to be on the wrong side of an angry customer when you know that they are right.
In this case, it’s vital to listen and acknowledge that the person has been treated poorly. Agree that it should not have happened. Let the person talk about whatever they need to talk about. Don’t rush them or allow other customer to interfere. If need be, take the conversation to the side, so you aren’t the center of attention.
Once you’ve allowed the customer to vent and they seem to be calming down, you can move on to the second step in defusing the situation: solving the problem.
A good way to test if it’s time to transition from the venting stage to the solution stage is to use an “observation, suggestion” sentence. For example: “I understand you’re angry your reservation was lost. I’d be mad, too. Is there anything I can do to help make this better?” If the person is not ready, you can be sure he or she will leap back into voicing displeasure. Just wait, listen, and let the anger wear itself out.
Once a customer is finally ready to move to the solution stage, it is sometimes helpful to take an approach that suggests camaraderie. Use phrases like “Let’s see what we can do to fix this,” or “Why don’t we brainstorm some solutions.” Doing so lets the customer see that you are indeed on his or her side, and that you are invested in resolving the problem. Your care at this point will speak volumes to the customer and encourage them to return in the future.
For more information about the the services Pine Press Printing offers, please feel free to call us at (803) 359-9162.