Day #40 - How To Handle Irate Or Irrational Customers

You always want to provide exceptional service to all your customers. However, in the real world, things go wrong and mistakes are made. People come in to your store in bad moods and react not in the moment but from something else they are carrying with them. Now I feel like Dr Phil ."Angry Customers"Irate or irrational customers will often judge your level of service based on how you respond to a mistake. Do it well and they will probably forgive you and possibly even say positive things about your business to other people. That is a very good thing  and what you want customers to say about you.Dealing with an upset customer, means you must deal with their feelings first and their problem second. Irate customers are liable to have strong feelings when you, your product or services let them down.

Here are a few tips I can share with you:

  1. An irate customer may get verbal and emotional, staying cool will be your biggest challenge. Really listen openly and actively. This will show the customer that you care and that you are interested in their problem.
  2. Don’t say your sorry -   it's lost its value in our dealings with each other. It’s better to say "I apologize......"
  3. Remember to use the customers name in a difficult situation. It is  good business and even better social etiquette."Happy Customers"
  4. Being empathetic is an effective way to deal with the customer’s feelings.  It says to the customer I accept what your saying. Watch out here if your not connecting at this point the customer will sense  if you are insincere and they will  feel not heard and their negative mood can escalate.
  5. Relationship building is your goal even at times like these. If you see it differently you are throwing away an opportunity. How much does it cost you to attract a customer and keep them coming to your store ?  Weigh this against what it costs to keep that agitated customer happy.
  6.  Looking at this from another angle, customer service policies and procedures are written to be used as guidelines. You must decide what lengths you will go to keep every customer happy even irate ones.
  7. Dealing with irate and irrational customers is best left to people in your business that have highly developed social, and people skills.
  8. Role play these situations with your staff. They need to feel comfortable when confronted by irate and irrational customers. Everyone that works for you needs to know how to act and respond.
  9. Using phrases like, "I can understand how you feel, I don't like it either when I'm kept waiting", "I'll report this to my manager", "I'll do my best to ensure it doesn't happen in the future", “ Our goal is to make you happy “, or  “I’ll take care of this today “."Another Happy Customer"

Over the years retailers have shared their feelings about firing customers, is this your strategy? Getting rid of difficult situations by firing customers! Please hear what I’m sharing with you on this subject. Do not let irate or irrational customers push your buttons or your staff’s. Certain situations can, for sure, be very challenging, but retail is a people business.Barbara