Customer service representatives often find themselves in situations where they have to deal with disgruntled customers. It is quite inevitable that some customers might not be happy with the service or might feel that they have been treated poorly, since it is almost impossible to please every single customer who walks into a store or logs on to an online retail store. CSRs must be equipped to diffuse an escalated situation through dialogue and effectively solve problems.

Instead of avoiding or refusing service to angry customers, such situations should be used to learn more because angry customers can provide invaluable insight about the service/products, since they won’t hold back and will be brutally honest. CSRs should not only resolve the problem, but should aim for winning them back for future purchases too. Some of the ways through which businesses can win back disgruntled customers are as follows:

Proactive Communication

The first step to resolve any confusion or misunderstanding is effective communication. Disgruntled customers should be proactively approached to get their side of the story. CSRs must be tactful while interacting with an angry customer, so that the situation does not escalate any further. CSRs must remember not to take anything personally, since the customer is angry with the service/product and not the personnel working at the company. Customers should be allowed to vent, and CSRs should possess good listening skills to fully understand the issue, which will enable effective resolution. At the same time, CSRs should be able to fully empathize with the customer regarding the issue he/she is facing. Always remember that an indifferent attitude will further aggravate the situation. For example, customers calling an internet service provider to complain about poor service shouldn’t be greeted with statements such as, “Everybody is facing slow browsing, you’d just have to wait” or “There must be something wrong with your computer”.

Investigating Why Customers Left

If a customer feels unsatisfied with the products or service, it should be a priority for customer service representatives to investigate why the problem occurred. The investigation should start with interviewing the disgruntled customer and finding out the reason for the lapse in service. It should be determined which staff members were responsible for the mix-up or negligence. This will not only allow CSRs to effectively address the issue, but it will also provide valuable lessons for the future.

Secondly, the company representatives should also admit their mistake if the investigation reveals that the company was at fault. For example, If a customer is shipped the wrong product, it is important for the company to send out an apology letter, admitting the shipping mistake.

Making It Right

After the investigation has been carried out, companies should devise a way to correct the error and resolve the customer’s grievances. For example, if the customer has been overbilled at the retail shop, it is essential that it is fully explained how that might have happened. The overbilled amount should be refunded immediately and a sincere apology should be offered. Admitting mistake and rectifying the error is likely to calm down the customer, and even appreciate the swift corrective action. If these issues are resolved on an urgent basis, the customer might even come to appreciate the level of diligence and customer support. Whatever solution the company ends up offering should be implemented with the consent of the customer. In fact, the customer should be asked as to how the company can make it right, hence the situation should be dealt in such a manner that it pleases the customer.

Compensating for Inconvenience

Customers should be fairly compensated for all the trouble they might have had to go through, especially if it was caused by company negligence. There are several ways to compensate customers including free gifts, store credit and free loyalty card membership. If the compensation encourages customers to maintain their connection with the company, it is likely to dissipate the tension and would help CSRs win back disgruntled customers. For example, if a customer is compensated in form of store credit for a faulty product, he/she would have to come back in order to use the gifted store credit, which presents another opportunity for CSRs to win them over with better and improved service.

Staying in Touch With Customers for Periodic Feedback

After the issue has been resolved, and the disgruntled customer fairly compensated for the inconvenience, the CSRs should reach out and seek feedback regarding the service. This activity will provide an opportunity to the company to stay in touch and gain insights regarding products and service. Customers in such situations will give honest feedback with the overall experience, and he/she might even suggest ways to avoid the lapse in service in the future.