If you have ever worked in a service industry, chances are you have probably encountered an unhappy client. An unhappy client can ruin your day (if you let them) and even ruin your company’s reputation if not handled appropriately. I have had to deal with a few upset clients over my 10+ years in the service industry, and I would like to share a few tips with you that have helped me handle unhappy clients.
If a client begins the conversation by being rude or yelling, do NOT lash back in a similar manner. Not only is this immature, but this will only make things worse. Instead, take a deep breath and just listen to them.
Just by listening to the client’s problem, you can help defuse the situation. Always make sure the client feels acknowledged. When they are done speaking, briefly summarize what you heard. If you are speaking to them face-to-face, look them in the eyes, do not cross your arms or slouch like you’re a teenager upset with your parents.
After the client has finished speaking, they want to know that you understand why they are upset and where they are coming from. Express sympathy for their unpleasant experience. Showing that you care about their problem can go a long way when it comes to smoothing things over.
Find a Solution
Ask the client what they feel should be done or offer your own fair solution to their problem.
Don’t Take It To Heart
You cannot take it personally. Most of the time, all they want is to vent and just need someone to listen to them, and you just so happened to be that person. Think of it as a learning experience. Unhappy clients can sometimes be a blessing because they can bring to light issues you never knew you or your company had.
After the situation has been defused, and the conversation has ended, it may be helpful to take five minutes to yourself to just step outside for some fresh air or even have a chat with someone who makes you laugh.
In conclusion, handling upset clients should always be approached with care. I like to allow about a week and call the client back and ask them if their problem was solved, and if not, what can I do to further assist them? Listen, show sympathy, help them find a solution, and learn from it.
Check out these other resources for dealing with unhappy customers and clients:
Forbes – 7 Steps for Dealing With Angry Customers
Entrepreneur – 5 Tips for Dealing with Unhappy Clients
Impact – How to Deal With Angry Clients According to Science [w/infographic]