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March 10, 2022

How to Deal With Angry Customers

How to Deal With Angry Customers

So, like everyone else, I used to dread dealing with angry customers.

Until I realized that dealing with them effectively wouldn’t just be a plus for my business, but would be a life skill…a superpower.

Now I preach about it all the time!  Here’s my case.

It’s Not About You

First thing you always have to keep in mind is don’t take it personally.  There are many reasons that someone could be angry:

  • They could actually have a legitimate reason (totally understandable reason to get angry)
  • They could be completely wrong about the situation (great opportunity for you to explain things to them)
  • They have been taught that the customer is always right and they are acting out (good opportunity for you to hear them out, then explain how you’re going to address things)
  • They have had trauma in their lives that has taught them that this is the appropriate reaction to uncomfortable situations (an opportunity for you to deploy empathy and find a solution that works for everyone.

Keep your own ego and temper in check.  That’s a key aspect of being a business owner.  A way I’ve continued to develop myself here is through exercises with my business coach, who told me to “come at him” with whatever I had and I found that his calm acceptance and empathy just deflated me over time, no matter how angry I tried to make myself be.  It will be the same with angry customers, particularly if you are genuinely listening with empathy.

Have the Right Mindset

Once you realize that it’s nothing personal, you can see that your reactions are helping you build a mental framework for dealing with ANY confrontational situation, not just in your businesses.  You will be able to walk into those situations with confidence, defuse them, and create win/win scenarios.

Give Validation and Seek Resolution

So often, people just want to be heard.  They didn’t have their expectations met and they want to tell someone about it.  Tell them that you hear them, and if you were in the wrong, apologize sincerely.  

If you aren’t wrong, or the customer is getting belligerent, reset the situation.  If they are yelling or cussing (or have already done so to some of your team), let them know that you would like to speak respectfully and that if that can’t happen, you’ll need to move to an email exchange.  

Once everyone is calm, go for a resolution.  What is it that the customer wants?  

Whether it’s for the service to be repeated, or comp’ed, or to get a coupon for a future service (or all three), make sure you have procedures in place so that you’re not having to “make a decision” on each individual case.

One of the things we do at MaidThis is to allocate one half of one percent of our revenues for refunds.  This was to help me get through the mental anguish of “losing money” in the early days, but as I’ve grown as a remote local entrepreneur, it also means that I just consider these situations as part of normal business expenses and I dip into that reserve to deal with customers as needed.

Life Hack

What you do in business necessarily spills over into real life and vice versa.  Objectively listening to angry customers will prepare you to objectively listen to angry friends or acquaintances (or strangers!) and move towards a resolution that makes everyone feel heard and understood. 

And just like that, you’ve gone from something to dread and avoid (angry customers) to an opportunity for everyone (including yourself) to win.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

This article was written by Neel from MaidThis Franchise, a remote-local franchise opportunity for people looking to escape the rate race and reach financial freedom. Learn more here.