Dealing With Bad/Angry Customers

  • October 21, 2019
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Bad or angry customers can cause you to have more than just a bad day. One angry customer can suck the life out of you and do it over and over and over.  It kills your mojo and your ability to lead. The cost of this is insidious. They tell the world about their experience, and you’re left feeling hurt and trying to defend yourself.  Let’s jump into some of the false beliefs about bad customers, and learn how to deal with them the right way. 

False Belief – All angry customers are bad

First, a lot of us believe that all angry customers are bad. Our Elite Members in our program are moving towards doing as much mindset work as tactical work, if not more.  This is an example of a mindset that’s going to really cost you. If you externalize this situation, you see it as everyone else’s problem. If you internalize it, you can see it as an opportunity to improve.  Some of the best innovations in business come from someone being frustrated. All of that has to do with mindset. Look at an angry customer as an opportunity, and you’re going to get an opportunity.

False Belief – When people get angry, you have to fight back

Start with letting them win!! Deal with their REAL pain – they are feeling unloved!  Diffuse the fight immediately! We don’t make money by making people pissed off with us.  Don’t tell them they are lying, or defend what you did. Even if you are 1000 percent right, it never works out to try and make them believe they are wrong.  Even if they are crazy, just give them whatever they want. What you want to do is say, “Whatever you want, we’ll do that. We’re wrong you’re right.” Then they quickly go from frustrated down to a reasonable place.  Often times the customer was a little wrong or a LOT wrong. But do you really expect them to say, “Yes, I’m a dirtbag. Thanks for letting me know.”?    

So if I accept responsibility, will customers take advantage of me? 

Most of the time, once you tell them you are prepared to fix it the way they want it, their expectations go way down. Most customers are not going to try and take advantage of you.  If you push, they push back. If you don’t push, they don’t push back.  

False Belief – Complaints are bad for your business

What’s bad for your business is a customer quitting without notice and no explanation.  When they complain you have the opportunity to meet their needs! Move from the belief that complaints are bad for business, to complaints are an opportunity.  You want to make sure you are taking the most profitable or most effective mindset. If you have a customer complaining, how does that fit into your core values?  Look at it through the lens of your core values and find the opportunity to improve.

False Belief – A customer that complains doesn’t love you anymore

Once a customer complains we tend to let it fester and then things feel weird between you, like owing someone money.  You want to take care of the complaint before it gets weird. Go over the top to surprise them with delight. Remember, a story is going to be told at the end of this – no matter what.  You can’t stop it – they are going to talk. However, you can have a huge say in what that story is! So go nuts to fix it. They will likely be so blown away and happy with how you handled things, THAT will be the story they tell everyone, and you won’t lose them as a customer.

Key Takeaway

Don’t look at angry customers as bad, instead consider it an opportunity. You don’t have to fight with customers. Let them win!  What is their pain? Remember, they want to feel a certain way. If they are angry, they feel like they’ve been taken advantage of.  They want to feel like you appreciate them. So point at yourself and how terrible you and your employees are and then they will feel heard.  It is so much cheaper to keep a customer compared to getting a new customer. So if an angry customer is a core values fit, go overboard to fix the problem.  If they aren’t a fit, then let them go. A constant stream of upset customers will kill your business growth! Put your energy into finding good customers, and when they get upset, do everything in your power to make it right and keep them.

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