An unfortunate part of being in business is that no matter how great your product or service, there will always be at least one disgruntled customer who finds something to be upset about. Sometimes they’re completely off the wall, and other times they have a valid complaint or concern. Regardless, it’s your job as the owner of your business to make sure that their concern is addressed and handled in a professional manner. It can be difficult to keep your cool when someone is screaming at you or berating you, but one benefit of operating an online business is that complaints will come in electronic forms that allow you to pause, compose yourself, and answer in your own time. Here are some tips and tricks to handling grouchy customer emails.
1. Don’t Respond in Haste
When you first read an email from an unreasonable customer who is absolutely livid and is jabbing at everything from the quality of your products to your mother’s intelligence, you’re probably going to feel a little fired up. Whatever you do, this is not the time to reply to the customer in question. If you need to, open up a word document and type out all the angry things you have to say. The get up, walk away, make yourself a drink or take a walk. Do something completely unrelated until you are able to distance yourself from the situation and think of a proper response.
2. Angry Customers Are People Too
Remember that the person who sent that email is just that: a person. You don’t know who they are or what their situation really is like, whether they got into a fight with their spouse and they’re letting it out on you or if they just found out a loved one is sick. They might just have a downright terrible personality, but you don’t KNOW anything. Treat them as humanely and professionally as you would any other customer, and drop any curt attitude or sarcasm you’re tempted to include in your reply.
3. Apologize and Offer a Solution
This one is pretty basic customer service, but it can be easy to forget when you’re feeling riled with a customer. Even when you know it isn’t your fault, take the blame. Do not blame the customer, or they will immediately get defensive and you’ll have a very hard time getting through to them. Offer a solution to the problem, be it a repair, a refund, or talking through with them on the phone and helping them fix the issue themselves.
4. Don’t Lose Your Good Mood
Always keep up a great mood. Smile when you talk to angry customers, and smile when you write to them. More often than we realize, customers who feel like they’ve been slighted want to FIGHT you more than they want their problem solved – at first, anyway. If you can manage to keep your cool and stay in a friendly, chatty mood throughout your entire interaction, you will more often than not end up breaking down their bad attitude. Persist with your good mood until they have one too.