A Guide to Managing Angry Customers
It’s happening. There you are sitting at the desk of the automotive business you work for, when suddenly a customer walks right up to you. It’s obvious that he or she is angry about something. You’re caught off-guard and confused at first, but soon you come to your senses. You know that it is your responsibility to manage this situation; it’s what you’ve been trained for, it’s what you’ve prepared yourself for.
Here are a few reminders for you to keep in mind (in no particular order) when managing the customer and resolving the situation.
Point 1: Remain Calm
First and foremost, it is crucial that you remain calm. Tensions are high and there is probably a lot of confusion involved. Take a deep breath, calm your nerves, and remember that the intended outcome of your interaction with this customer is for you to resolve the situation to the best of your abilities. No matter what happens in this situation you must maintain your composure and behave professionally from start to finish.
Point 2: Check The Facts
Before you can act, you must first seek to understand the situation. With the customer’s name and vehicle information, gather all the information you possibly can about the situation. Refer to your Customer Relationship Management system, if you’ve been using one; chances are that’s where all the customer information is collected.
Check the records you might have, speak to the people who are responsible for the workmanship being performed on the customer’s vehicle, and ask the customer questions to clarify, understand, and get to the root of why they are not pleased about the situation.
Point 3: Listen and Acknowledge
While tensions are high, the customer may be saying a lot of things to you at one time. Your job is to listen actively and attentively without interrupting. Acknowledge what your customer is telling you with short and simple phrases such as “I hear what you’re saying.”
Quite often, an angry customer wants to know that you understand exactly what he or she is telling you, and that their complaints are being heard and accepted by someone representing the business.
Point 4: Manage Expectations
During tense situations such as this one, you may be tempted to say whatever you think might calm the customer down. It is important here not to commit to anything and to not make any promises to the customer that you might not be able to deliver on.
In this situation, you are the ambassador of the automotive business tasked with creating an understanding between the business and the customer, ensuring that products and services are completed according to what is necessary.
As an automotive customer care professional, you must manage your customer’s expectations openly and honestly.
Point 5: It’s Not About You
Equally important is to remember that this is not about you. It might feel like you’re being personally attacked by the customer, which might affect you emotionally. Always remember: the customer is not angry at you as an individual, they are displeased about the situation they are in and all they want is for things to be right; in this case, for things with their car, motorcycle or other automobile to be made whole.
While this may not be about you personally, learning from this experience can help you become a much more effective automotive customer service professional as a result. Situations like this one are beneficial because
Point 6: Follow Up
When issues are resolved, be sure to follow up with the customer at a later point in time to ensure that they are satisfied with the outcome. Going the extra mile and following up with a customer communicates to them that you care about them as a customer, and that they are important to you even after they have paid for and received the products and services that they have requested.
Additionally, ensure that you follow up with internal teams to share this experience as well. By sharing customer feedback with them, you will help the entire business learn from this situation so that it may improve its practices for future customers.