The last thing you want to do in such a stressful situation is to continue communication, and sometimes it can be difficult to resist the temptation to just send the client to hell and hang up or ban him from the chat.
But this approach will not bring good to your company, because a dissatisfied client can share his negative experience with 9–15 acquaintances or write a bad review about you on social networks, which can scare off even more potential customers.
In most cases, when dealing with dissatisfied customers, you need to pull yourself together and continue the conversation politely and calmly.
Unfortunately, at work, it is unlikely that you will be able to meditate, take a relaxing bath or go for a massage, but there are several ways to calm down here and now.
- Breathe deeply. Count mentally to 10, inhale slowly, and then exhale just as slowly. It is best to inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. Repeat 10–12 times. This will not give complete relief from stress, but this way you will at least calm your heartbeat and breathing, and the body will receive the command “Everything is fine, I am safe.”
- Warm-up. Exercise is a proven way to relieve stress. Some exercises can be done even while sitting at a table — for example, you can stretch your neck, arms, and wrists, and do simple twists.
- Think of something good. Close your eyes for a moment and think of something good. For example, you can remember your favorite vacation spot: imagine its atmosphere, sounds, colors, and smells. Or imagine the face of someone you love.
There are many gadgets and devices for stress relief, so you can try different ones and choose the one that suits you personally. Most of them are inexpensive, you can carry them with you or place them on your desktop.
- Pillow in the form of an Enter button. The pillow can be connected to a computer via USB and beat with all your heart when you send a message to a client.
- Slime or plasticine. You can find slimes and plasticine for every taste on the same AliExpress, or go to the nearest toy store for children. The main thing when choosing such a toy is to check that it will not leave marks or a nasty smell on your hands. And there, who knows, perhaps during a conversation with another dissatisfied client, you will discover the talent of a sculptor in yourself.
- Various toys that can be squeezed into your hands. There are a lot of such toys on AliExpress for every taste, and they mostly cost less than a hundred rubles apiece. You can find it by searching for “squishy toy” or “stress relief”.
In most cases, the client’s dissatisfaction is not your fault, and he is not rude to you personally. Basically, customers get angry when something doesn’t go as they expected: for example, the delivered product didn’t live up to their expectations, or they’re having trouble using your site, or they’re waiting too long for delivery. And sometimes it’s not your company’s fault at all for their dissatisfaction — the client just had a bad day, and you were unlucky to be the person on whom he decided to throw out his negativity.
But even if the client is angry because of your words or actions, remember that everyone makes mistakes. So let him speak up, admit his mistake, and treat it as a valuable experience.
Another way to stay calm is to put yourself in the client’s shoes. First, it allows you to see the situation through the other person’s eyes, making it easier for you to stay calm.
Secondly, this way you can better understand the reasons for the dissatisfaction of your customers. They are angry and rude to you not because they want to offend you personally. They’re just frustrated because they trusted your company and you let them down. Empathy will help you get closer to the interlocutor and really want to help him.
If you’re talking to a client on the phone, your tone of voice can betray your true emotions. In addition, in an unpleasant situation, a person tends to speak first and think later, which as a result leads to sarcastic and snide remarks, as well as to the transition to raised tones. Try to watch how you speak so that your interlocutor seems to be calm and focused.
If you respond calmly and clearly, without raising your voice, the client is likely to calm down more quickly. Practice responding to rude remarks in this tone, and it will soon become a habit.
When communicating via chat or email, keeping track of the tone is much easier, but even here there are a few rules. Be polite, address the client by name or “you”, and avoid inappropriate emoticons or jargon. And be sure to re-read the message before sending for grammatical and semantic errors.
It’s hard to do this on the phone, but if you feel like you need to pause and catch your breath, ask the client if they’d mind hanging on the line for a minute. If he agrees, use this pause to at least relax a little, or do one of the exercises from the first paragraph. However, few customers like to “hang on the line” (let alone those who are already unhappy with the current situation), so use this method carefully.
When chatting or emailing, it’s much easier to pause to cool off and write a real answer. You can write everything you think about the client in a draft, then erase it and start writing the real answer. This way you can vent your anger and annoyance, and it will be easier for you to focus on writing a response that is clear, polite, and effective.
If a customer has had a negative experience while using your product or service, be sure to apologize to them and show them that you’re sorry. Admit your mistake, don’t shift the blame to others. To smooth things over a bit, you can also emphasize that what happened is an exceptional case, and you will try to prevent this from happening in the future.
However, you need to be careful with apologies when the situation is not your fault or the fault of your company. After all, then your apology may sound like you really did something wrong. In this case, it is important to watch what words and phrases you use. For example, you can use a phrase like “I’m sorry that you had to go through such an unpleasant situation” instead of the phrase “I’m sorry that we caused you an inconvenience.”
When you have to listen to or read a barrage of insults, it’s hard to stay calm and easy to lose sight of the client’s reason for contacting you. In such a situation, it is important to focus on what exactly the client is complaining about and find out what the problem is.
When you figure this out, start working on a solution. The client will probably calm down or slow down when he hears that you have found a way to solve his problem. This will help to calm down because you will switch to another task and be able to abstract from the flow of swearing.
Remember that clients are rarely rude for no reason. You can’t know exactly what’s going on in his head. Perhaps the client just had a difficult period in his life, for example, he was fired from his job, or someone close to him became seriously ill. And the inconvenience delivered by your company was the last straw for him, and it was you who were unlucky to be the one on whom he decided to throw out his anger and irritation.
After all, your job is to make life easier for your customers by helping them solve the complexities and problems they experience with your site or service. And perhaps if you do not become rude to the client in response, but listen to him calmly and politely and offer a solution to the problem, then you can cheer him up and make his day a little better.