How to Take Action with Social Insights — Free Webcast ›
Popular Today in Business: All Popular Articles

How to Deal with Unhappy Customers

Customer Experience

No one likes to receive a complaint, but it really is a matter of whether they arrive sooner or later. 96% of unhappy customers don’t actually complain. However, 91% of them will simply leave and never come back. Knowing this, wouldn’t you agree that a complaining customer is sometimes better than one that is silent but halfway out the door? Having unhappy customers might be a second chance in disguise. Here are some tips to help you deal with unhappy customers.

How to Deal with Unhappy Customers image Bill Gates 2012907b

It’s all About Brand Reputation

In this era of social media, people frequently turn to social networks to complain, and they can be really rude about it sometimes. What you need is the skill not to respond unkindly, because your answer may well be read by anyone. Protect your brand by being kind – always.

It’s not Personal

Always remember that complaints are not personal, and that the customer’s anger is not directed to the employee, but towards the company in general. This fact will help you to remain calm and polite. If you listen with understanding & sympathy, even the angriest customer will calm down.

Listen Carefully

Find out what their problem is, so you can work towards alleviating it and not towards a solution that does not actually help them in any way. The point is to resolve the customer’s issue.

Before taking action, verify that what you’re doing really helps the customer by asking the customer himself/herself. Once a resolution is agreed, act quickly to implement it. All the customer really wants is a listening ear that will respect their point of view, and work towards helping them.

Don’t make Excuses

No matter what or who caused the problem, never blame your customers (even if they have caused the issue). Making excuses is simply a waste of time, and it makes customers even more annoyed. Instead, take full responsibility and do whatever you can in your power to solve the problem as quickly as possible.

A Unique Opportunity to Improve your Service

Think about customer complaints as opportunities to improve your service and to transform unhappy customers into fans. Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.

Employees who handle customer service complaints quickly, efficiently and professionally take advantage of a unique opportunity: the chance to turn an unhappy customer into a satisfied customer. According to a report by White House Office of Consumer Affair , happy customers who get their issue resolved tell about 4-6 people about their experience. Not bad, right?

Next time you have to deal with a disappointed customer, remember that it takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience, so believe me when I say that you do not want to miss even one chance to turn a negative experience into a positive one.

RSS Comments Feed

Comments on this Article: 12

Add a Comment
  1. Wadie Abu-Rahmeh says:

    In our current health care environment in the United States, the words of this article are critical to achieving the desired outcomes with patient satisfaction as well as compliance. Building trust through consistent service creates a perpetual relationship that is mutually beneficial.

    • Barbara Kimmel says:

      Wadie- you nailed it! It’s all about building trust through consistent customer service. It makes rebuilding trust so much less costly, time consuming and difficult.

      Barbara Kimmel, Executive Director
      Trust Across America – Trust Around the World
      http://www.trustacrossamerica.com

  2. Savad Mohammed says:

    Rightly Written !. Again !Customer is the King! Those who complaining are serious Customers. they want to do business with you. those who are quiet may not come back to you ( one time Customer). issue May be same for all the customers. we can make all the customer happy By resolving one customer issue.

  3. James H. says:

    Very nice advice! Our blog interviewed three different online reputation management (ORM) experts that told us how they dealt with negative reviews, too. You can read their advice here: http://www.brand.com/blog/orm-experts-negative-reviews/

    Hope that helps!

  4. Christabel says:

    Well said! No matter how rude the customer may be always keep a high level of professionalism, remembering that how you deal with the situation represents the whole company and that by being rude and impolite will only make the situation worse.

  5. sagar says:

    Would be great if TSA read the article. And management of United Airlines and Easy Jet. Boarding on Easy Jet I have had the ground boarding crew shout at me tell me my carry on was to big when it was already approved and checked. On United I had a stewardess tell me I could only get one small glass of water and she would come back when done severing other passengers with a second glass. Fortunate for me there was a steward who over heard the conversation and brought me a large bottle of water.

  6. Suzan deVore says:

    Unhappy customers handled well are a gift. Not handled well, an anchor that will bring you rapidly to a stop or dragging the bottom. Great points.

  7. D.S. Meyers says:

    All people have one thing in common- whether it’s a customer in a fast food restaurant, an apartment tenant, or a graphics client: All people want to be validated. Half the time, they just want to know someone acknowledges them. When a person is upset, I’ll listen (actually listen) to them vent until they run out of steam. Then I’ll say “I hear what you’re saying. Let me see what I can do to help.” Then, I follow through. If I can’t solve their problem, offering a compromise helps. Many times, they’ll actually apologize for getting upset.

  8. Josh C. says:

    Well written. It is a great opportunity when an unhappy customer takes the time and energy to share a negative experience with a business and one of the driving reasons we’re developing simple customer feedback products at BigRemark.

    https://www.bigremark.com

  9. Karen says:

    An unhappy customer can escalate in seconds. By the time you reach him/her they may have been told by several associates that an item is located in several locations and now they find it is not in stock or located in another aisle. As an example, the early morning customer wants bird seed and after spending minutes looking for it, finds it is not there. He is ready to walk out when I tell him it’s on order and won’t be there for a week. I take him back to the location and tell him to choose what is available for a “free” bag and a discount when it gets delivered to the store. It works like a charm if you show sympathy for him and the birds.

  10. winny says:

    Yeah, it really helps to correct a mistake rather than giving excuses, the customer is the boss so listen to them and act immediately.

  11. Thank you all! I am glad that my article has been appreciated.

Add a Comment:


Thank you for adding to the conversation!

Our comments are moderated. Your comment may not appear immediately.