How to Deal with Nightmare Customers

Angry customer on the phoneThe way you deal with a nightmare customer will prove if you are a professional in customer service.

Let’s face it, not all of your customers are going to be happy, smiling, and shake your hand when they approach your desk. Many will yell, smirk, and pound their fist on your desk when they feel they’ve been wronged.

It’s during these times that you will have to draw from all of your training as a customer service professional.

Don’t speak, just listen.

The first thing you need to know is that when you encounter a difficult customer it’s usually because they are upset about something. Plain and simple, the person has a complaint.

The complaint may be rational or irrational, but they’re bringing the problem to you. Nightmare customers may curse, shout, groan or even scream throughout the process of explaining the problem.

Try your best not to take any of this personally. Remember, this is merely an expression of their extreme frustration. Never interrupt the customer during this venting process.

Customers needs to get out their frustration; allowing them to vent is similar to steam on a tea kettle. It’s evidence that the problem has gotten to the boiling point. While customers are venting listen intently to the keys of their problem.

Take detailed notes of all of their concerns. Once the customer has finished venting, he or she will need to take a breath. This is your opportunity to begin actively working to solve the problem.

Empathize and Resolve

Begin your conversation by expressing your empathy for how the customer is feeling. Say something like, “I’m sorry this happened. If I were you, I’d be frustrated too.” This will help the customer feel his or her frustration is justified.

Repeat back what the customer told you without placing blame. You don’t ever want to blame the customer for the problem. By dealing with each of the customer’s concerns one-by-one, it will reinforce that he or she was heard. Find ways that will satisfy the customer and bring about a positive outcome.

Don’t be over eager to pass the difficult customer off to your supervisor. This will require the customer to re-explain the situation to the supervisor escalating the anger further.

Try your best to fix the problem at your level. If you can’t figure out a way on your own, don’t hesitate to ask the customer, “what would make this right?” Getting his or her input will foster a partnership between you and the customer for a positive resolution. Don’t forget your main purpose is to re-establish a trusting relationship between the customer and your company.

Always Follow Up

Call or email the customer back after the problem has been resolved. This will let the customer know you care about their business and want the relationship to continue. Be sincere in your concern and your customer will sense how much you care.

Providing service to customers can be a rewarding experience especially when you get a smile from a customer that was once yelling.

About the Author

Angela Huffmon is a keynote Speaker and a Corporate Trainer. She helps management solve their biggest problems: employee retention, productivity and manager/employee communication.

Leave a Comment