How to deal with mr angry

As agents face a growing number of customers venting their anger over refunds, Bob Morrell and Jeremy Blake, of Reality Training, offer 10 tips on how to tackle those challenging conversations

Angry Customers

1. Let them vent: You need to allow them to express their feelings. Even if what they are saying is incorrect, insulting or patronising, let them get it all out, then you will be better able to deal with the problem.

2. Never lie: It can be tempting to say something, anything, to mollify an angry person and get them off the phone. But a lie is easily exposed and will damage relationships and your business.

3. Call back when you said you would: Even if you have no news, or bad news, you must call people back by a certain time. Your punctuality will be appreciated and failure to call remembered.

4. Never show ‘disloyal bonding’: Sometimes it’s tempting to ‘slag off’ your own company, or an operator, or the system, as a way to deflect what’s happened and bond in a false way with the customer. Avoid this, as it can make someone angrier.

5. Remember this crisis is unique: None of us have ever been through anything like this before. No country, industry or company has ever faced this situation – so if things are slow, frustrating, or worse than before, it is not entirely surprising. We are all doing our best under these extreme circumstances.

Emotional Customers

1. Recognise the emotion: Are they angry, annoyed, upset or anxious – or a combination of these? They want to tell you how they feel and they want you to understand, on an emotional level.

2. Make it ‘adult to adult’: As adults we are better at dealing practically with the here and now rather than focusing solely on the past. This is the place both you and your customer need to be.

3. Be empathetic as well as sympathetic: Depending on the issue, you may need to show some natural sympathy. But practical solutions require empathy. Understanding and organisation will resolve the problem, ultimately.

4. Don’t talk down: This is talking to the customer like they’re a child and you’re their parent. Avoid phrases like “calm down”, “it’s just a holiday” or even “how dare you talk to me like that”.

5. Appreciate the situation: We are all experiencing disappointment in varying forms. Your customer’s situation is not unique. With an emotional customer, you first have to put them in the best possible mindset to subsequently have a positive conversation that reaches the best outcome.

Bob Morrell

Reality Training is offering guidance on how to ensure video meetings delivered online are motivating. Find out more about how to add some ‘zing’ to your in-house meetings at: how-guarantee-motivating- online-meetings

23 APRIL 2020 15

PICTURES: Shutterstock

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