In this article you’ll find nine steps for facing and dispelling a customer’s anger.
1. Acknowledge your customer’s anger quickly. Nothing adds more fuel to a fire than having his or her anger ignored or belittled. The faster you verbally recognize their anger, the better.
2. Make it plain that you’re concerned. Tell them you realize just how angry they are. Let them know that you are taking the situation seriously. Make notes of every possible detail they give you.
3. Don’t hurry them. Be patient. Let them get it all out. Never try to interrupt or shut them up. In many cases, the best move is to simply listen. They’ll wind themselves down eventually. In some cases, they’ll realize they blew the situation out of proportion and feel foolish for it. They are then likely to accept nearly any solution you offer.
4. Keep calm. Most angry people say things they don’t really mean. Learn to let those things pass and take them up after you’ve solved the present challenge – only if you feel it’s necessary to do so.
5. Ask questions. Your aim is to discover the specific things that you can do to correct the problem. Try to get specific information about the difficulties the problem has caused, rather than a general venting of hot air.
6. Get them talking about solutions. This is where you will learn just how reasonable your client is. By the time you get to this step, their anger should have cooled enough to discuss the challenge rationally. If it hasn’t tell them you want to schedule a later meeting, even if it’s in an hour, to come up with some reasonable solutions. Let them do the rest of their fuming on their time.
7. Agree on a solution. After you know exactly what the challenge is, you’re in a position to look for some kind of action that will relieve the challenge. Propose something specific. Start with whatever will bring them the best and quickest relief. Don’t get into a controversy over pennies at this time.
8. Agree on a schedule. Once you’ve agreed on a solution, set up a schedule for its accomplishment. Agree to a realistic time frame that you know you can handle. The biggest mistake you can make is to agree to something that cannot be done. If you do, you’d better be ready to face another bout of this person’s anger when you don’t come through.
9. Meet your schedule. Give this schedule top priority. You’ve talked yourself into a second chance with this client, so make sure you don’t blow it.
About the Author
Tom Hopkins is a world-renowned sales trainer. For over 30 years, he has helped millions of sales professionals around the world serve more people through proven-effective selling skills.