We’ve recently put together an eBook in which we give tips on how to deal with challenging customer service situations. Our first chapter focuses on angry customers and features the transcript of a pretty heated phone call.
In the book we tell you to give a sincere apology, take responsibility, show sympathy and actually walk the walk. We do believe these 4 simple guidelines can go a long way but we realized that on chat, you first have to spot angry customers
Text chat is a tricky mean of communication. It’s both a blessing and a burden when dealing with irate customers.
It can be great because you are not actually being yelled at which makes it a lot easier to deal with stress and anger. But on the other hand it’s a lot harder to show the customer some real empathy and turn around the situation.
Situations involving face-to-face or voice communication make it quite easy to see (or hear) when a customer is unhappy. Text chat makes it a little more difficult at times.
Here’s a list of the few types of angry customers you could encounter on chat:
#1 THE ALL CAPS ANGRY CUSTOMERS
This customer makes it really easy for you to spot his anger. All caps are often used as a text form of yelling. This kind of message suggests a high level of anger. You customer probably tried to contact you before and didn’t get what he wanted or just had several problems with your product. In any case he’s angry and wants you to know it!
Some people also use ALL CAPS as a sign of excitement so make sure you read the message twice before assuming your customer is angry.
As an agent, you should NEVER WRITE IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. It’s really hard to read and even if you just want to show excitement the customer might mistake it as anger. You can use “!” at the end of your sentences instead. It’s less agressive but still let you communicate your emotions.
#2 The “…” angry customers
The “…” are often used a a sign of annoyance. The customer is polite enough to not cyber-yell at you but he still wants to know he’s not happy with the problem. The sentence can also suggest that the person is not expecting much from you or the product. It gives you a good change to prove them wrong and surprise them with amazing service.
Just expect this customer to be more of the sceptical type. You’ll probably need to give him concrete proof that you resolved the problem once and for all. You’ll also want to check back few weeks later to make sure he’s not experiencing trouble again and just gave up on the product all together.
#3 The “f***ing” angry customers
Customers are usually more hesitant to write down swear words and most won’t take the time to *** part of the word. However you might receive rude message on text chat as well. The insults aren’t directed at you, it’s just a strong way to show how annoyed they are with the issue.
Just stay really polite on your side of the conversation. It’s usually okay to adopt a more casual style when chatting with someone, but we would advise that you stay rather formal is someone starts swearing. Just set the tone and stay really polite to remind them they are not talking to their old college pal.
#4 The “!!!???” angry customers
Punctuation is a really good way to communicate emotions when text chatting. As for the ALL CAPS complaint, you have to be careful not to confuse complaint and excitement here.
Multiple “!” at the end has just about the same meaning as capitalizing the whole sentence. You customer is probably angry typing on his keyboard wishing he could yell at you.
The use of multiple “?” has a slightly different meaning but it can be used to point out anger while asking a (often rhetorical) question. These questions can sometimes sound a little aggressive to the receiver. For example “Are you even trying to fix my problem?????” sound more aggressive than “Are you even trying to fix my problem?”. The second sounds colder, but also calmer.
As you probably can imagine, the “!!!!!????” combo doesn’t sound too good for you. This can represent surprise in a normal conversation but is usually a good sign that your customer is angry (and very annoyed). Just stay calm. The punctuation storm will eventually go away.
#5 The “ok.” angry customers
Did you ever received the dreaded “ok.” message? What’s wrong with it? I mean it’s just someone saying ok to you. And yet there’s this “.” and it changes everything.
I have to admit that this is a really tricky complaint to spot. I know some people who just like to write properly on chat and end their sentences with “.” as we all should. However one way to spot an angry period is to look at how long the sentence before it is. If someone is sending you short messages (3 words or less) and is ending all of them with “.” there’s a chance he’s mad at you.
You can’t really assume someone is angry, just take it as a warning and stay very positive to make sure your customer doesn’t turn into an “ALL CAPS” or “!!!!!?????” monster.
#6 The “…but” angry customers
You have a really nice customer here but it doesn’t mean he’s not angry. You should treat his problem as seriously as you would if he was angry and yelling at you.
You don’t come across this type of customer often but they are the best type you can get. They care enough to point out the problem to you but still know how to do it in a polite way. Make sure you don’t loose them!
Just don’t get fooled by the beginning of the sentence. Apologize for the issue and get on it as fast as you can. This type of customer might not be the most vocal about their problems but they will not hesitate to leave you if you don’t make things right.
#7 The “I will post this on social media” angry customers
This is something no one wants to hear. This might mean bad publicity for your company and it might cause you to loose your job. With chat transcripts easily available, it makes it easy for customers to share their conversation with you whether good or bad.
Just don’t panic! Follow your company’s guidelines, be polite and do everything you can to help the customer. Don’t question yourself too much. If you stick to basic rules of politeness, people won’t point the finger at you.
Most customers are using the „social media threat” because they are desperate and think it will help get what they want. Many of them are actually people who had problems with your company before or already try to contact you. They are already angry with your company before even starting the conversation. Some customers are also threatening you just to get a refund or voucher. As long as you were not rude, apologized and actually tried to come up with a solution, there’s no reason to be scared.
A good practice is to report the conversation to your manager so he can get prepared if the conversation pops up on Facebook or Twitter.
#8 The “I know my stuff” angry customers
This type of angry customers will probably come to you armed with facts they found on the internet. Get ready to open some links and quickly go through a bunch of articles. They usually put you in a delicate situation as they might know more than you.
Just make sure you read what they send you carefully and if you don’t feel comfortable answering, offer to call them later or transfer them to a manager. Don’t forget to collect their contact information if your chat system didn’t before.
In many case customers will also come to you with facts but no links to the sources. Whenever someone states a fact, ask where he found it. Even if he doesn’t have the exact link, it will help you or one of your colleagues later if you want to find it. It will also allow you to check that the customer is telling the truth and not making facts up to get a better price.
When dealing with angry chatters, it’s important for you to keep your typing calm, polite and positive. Avoid punctuation like „…”, „!”. Just stay kind of neutral in your typing. People can’t see your face or hear you, you’re likely to make them even more angry if you use emotional signs like exclamation points or smileys.
Just give quick and direct answers. Show the customer that you are doing everything in your power to solve their problem. It’s also always a good idea to apologize and sympathize with the customer. Show that you are not just a machine. Tell him you understand why he’s angry.
Want to learn how to deal with all types of angry customers? Check out our new ebook!