There are only two things you can do when a Godzilla customer is lunging for you – run for your life or face the monster.
But you are not going to run away. You’re a hero. Heros don’t run.
Now what’s the Godzilla customer saying? It might be something like this: “MY NEW DISH SET ARRIVED BROKEN AND NEXT WEEK IS THANKSGIVING. WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA? I AM GOING TO REPORT YOU TO THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU. I’LL BET YOU’RE A BUNCH OF CRIMINALS. YOU’RE GOING TO BE REALLY SORRY WHEN I’M…”
Yikes, that is a tough situation.
You can’t give them the standard “I’m sorry to hear that. Let me check with my supervisor to see if there’s anything we can do.” RAWR. That’s only going to feed the beast.
Here’s what you’re going to do instead:
Apologize. Ever heard that old customer service saying that customers can hear you smile? They can hear you be sorry too. Apologize first, and really mean it. If you don’t mean it, fake it till you make it. Things feel tough for them right now. So for now, just empathize with their sadness, their frustration, their anger. Once you’ve established that you’re sorry and that you really care, your job is going to get much easier.
You can save your customer – if you give into them first.
Disarm them as quickly as possible. If your Godzilla can’t stop venting, you can still take back control. It’s simple. Just ask a question. Then ask another. Rinse and repeat. They’re still doing all the talking, but now it’s on your terms. This is called active listening. It’s valuable because it calms down angry customers and helps you extract the information you need to get to the bottom of your situation.
Bonus: it buys you time if you’re scrambling to research a solution for them.
Acknowledge their problem after you let them say everything they want to. When you have your chance to respond, repeat their concerns using the same words they did. It’s a little psych trick – it establishes that you really understand them.
Now for the big fix. If your customer is actually right, then this is the easy part. Give them the refund or replace the broken set of dishes. Throw in express shipping too, so they can use their dishes on Thanksgiving.
But what if they’re wrong? What if they missed a clearly stated return period? Violated company policy? You’ve spent the whole call empathizing with them. Now tell them what you have to, and offer then a meaningful alternative. This could be a gift certificate, an upgrade, a few months premium or a little freebie. It’s up to you to decide how much time and money your customer is worth, but multiply that by their lifetime value and the power of a great referral.
And while you’re at it, be unrelentingly positive.
That’s it – you’ve just saved a customer. You’re our happiness hero!
Got any awesome stories about how you turned an angry customer happy again?