All business owners have likely come into contact with angry customers at some point, regardless of their industry. While dealing with an upset client might be challenging, you can do it in a way that produces positive results for you and your company. By managing the situation calmly, rationally, and proactively, you can stay on top of the issue and keep the customer from leaving you. 

This article will explore: 

  • What not to do with an angry customer
  • What you should do instead
  • How Countingup can help you make time for customers

What not to do with an angry customer

  1. Don’t take it personally. 

You’ve poured your heart and soul into offering the best service or product you can, so it can understandably be distressing if a customer is unhappy with it. Although it is difficult not to react when someone is shouting at you, you need to realise that the customer is not mad at you as a person. They are mad at the overall experience. Their frustration is a result of unmet expectations or a mistake, not a personal criticism of you. So try not to see it as a failure on your part or let it affect your mood.

  1. Don’t get defensive. 

It can be tempting to make excuses or point out all the ways your customer is wrong to shift the blame off you. But avoiding responsibility will only agitate the customer more and might make them lose trust in your business. Of course, they might be responsible for what has gone wrong, but it won’t help to blame them. 

Do not fall into the trap of over-explaining why something went wrong. It can make you seem like you’re trying to make excuses instead of looking for solutions. Also, your customer probably has a hundred things to think about in a day. They don’t necessarily want to know all the details about what happened and why. Chances are they’re using your service to make their life easier, not harder.

  1. Don’t ignore their concerns. 

Maybe your customer is concerned about something trivial, or you don’t have a good answer for their question right now. The easiest way to resolve the problem seems to be to ignore it. But by not addressing the issues a customer may have, you will only leave them feeling undervalued and shut out from the discussion. It can also give the impression that you are uncaring or incapable of providing them with a solution.

  1. Don’t take too long to respond. 

According to this study, 65% of people expect customer service to be faster now than it was five years ago. In addition, 89% say a quick response to an initial inquiry is important when deciding which company to buy from.

Even under normal circumstances, customers can be highly impatient and expect to receive an immediate response. But when they have a problem or a complaint, ‘leaving them on read’ for too long will only make it worse. Not getting a response might make them ruminate over negative feelings and make them even angrier. Before you know it, they could be imagining worst-case scenarios and making a formal complaint.  

What to do if a client or customer or client is angry

  1. Empathise. 

You might think that offering the best solution as quickly as possible is the most important thing to do when your customer is angry. But before you jump to fixing the problem, try to let your customer know that you understand where they are coming from. Listen to their concerns carefully and make sure you understand their frustration. Then, reassure them that you’re here to help and find a solution.

Feeling understood and acknowledged might help dissolve their anger and make them more open to the solutions you’re offering. When people feel heard, they tend to calm down more quickly. 

  1. Listen actively. 

According to this article, 91% of unhappy customers don’t complain; they just leave. Customer complaints can actually be a precious source of information to highlight problematic parts of your business. So listen carefully and take the opportunity to improve your services.

Imagine yourself in their position and try to see the situation from their perspective. Then, listen attentively to what your customer has to say without interrupting them. Ask questions to make sure you understood them correctly and that you’re getting their whole story. Active listening will make your customer feel heard and valued and provide you with helpful information for improvements. As a bonus, you will determine the root cause of the problem, and the customer will feel like you genuinely care about fixing their issue. 

  1. Be proactive and offer solutions. 

Ensure you cover as much ground as possible when you respond to customers who contact you with a problem. Firstly, you must apologise for what has happened, reassure them that you are on the case and offer solutions. You might be able to dissolve some of their frustrations with a first-class customer service experience.

Part of excellent customer service is being proactive and addressing issues before customers have too much time to contemplate their dissatisfaction. Anticipating what actions they might need to resolve the complaint will help de-escalate the situation before it gets out of hand. Learn more about what makes good customer service here.

  1. Take responsibility for mistakes. 

Acknowledging you’ve made a mistake can be tough. What if it makes you look incompetent? But the truth is that we all make mistakes. As long as you communicate errors transparently and take responsibility, your customers will appreciate your honesty. 

You could make an excuse or try to deny responsibility, but that will make matters far worse. Most people will sooner or later be able to tell that you’re trying to cover something up. The only thing it will achieve is making you look dishonest. Accepting that you’ve made a mistake and owning up to it might be the only way to win back your customers’ trust. Find more tips on how to improve your customer service here.

Now that we’ve listed some of the dos and don’ts for handling the situation, how would you deal with an angry client or customer?

Save time on admin and make time for customers

Dealing with customers can take up a lot of precious time. Thousands of business owners are using the Countingup app to save time on their financial admin and focus on other parts of their business. 

Countingup is the business current account and accounting software in one app. It automates time-consuming bookkeeping admin for self-employed people across the UK.

With automatic expense categorisation, receipt capture tools and cash flow insights, you can confidently keep on top of your business finances and save yourself hours of accounting admin, so you can focus on doing what you do best. Find out more here.