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Dealing with angry customer: Feelings first, problems second

india Updated: Feb 06, 2007 14:28 IST
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If you are in the sales and marketing side of an organisation, you would have come across angry customers. These people are the bane of every sales person's life and knowing how to deal with them in a successful manner can greatly help you reduce workplace stress.

The focus of this article is to recognise an irate customer and deal with him or her in the most effective way so that you continue to retain him/her.

Of course it is easy to know when someone is angry — you can see it in his expression and hear the anger in the tone of voice. But what you do not know is why he is angry. Most sales people automatically assume that customer is angry because the product sold to him is faulty. And that the customer wants the product fixed or replaced. While this is true in part, what a customer wants is to be heard as well.

An angry customer needs to be able to vent his spleen on someone. The individual wants to be listened to while he screams and shouts. So, lesson number one is never to cut a customer's speech short. Take him to your cubicle and get him a cup of tea or something cold to drink and then take a deep breath and just listen to him.

After everything is off the customer's chest, so to speak, he will be ready to participate in the solution to his problem. And all will be well. If, on the other hand, you take the initiative and begin to apologise before the customer has made his point you run the risk of hearing a lengthy argument, which will more often than not culminate with the customer walking out in a huff.

The result? A lost customer and soaring stress levels. The moral of this story therefore is: feelings first, problems second. In short, when faced with an angry customer, first acknowledge the feelings of anger and frustration. Once the customer has calmed down because his feelings have been assuaged, make your first move to solve the problem.
Simple, is it not?