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Dealing With & Listening To Upset Customers

It’s not always easy to bite our tongues… whether literally or figuratively speaking. But when it comes to upset customers, shutting up is often your best strategy. Instead, your goal should be to LISTEN.

Customers who want to tell you about their experiences, poor product reviews, customer service disappointments or anything else that may not have been ideal not only want to share their story… they want to get their frustration out of their system. In other words, they want to make sure YOU and anyone else who will listen hear’s about why they are upset, annoyed, disappointed or just plain mad. As a retailer, the best thing you can do to accommodate this is to simply listen. Below, gain three tips on doing this in an effective, productive manner to help ease your customer’s frustration while hoping to regain their confidence in your store to visit again, as well.

Tip 1: Encourage Your Customer to Tell You “How They Feel”

This may not be a tip you want to hear, but it’s a tip that needs to be heard. If you ask your customers to tell you about their experience or share whatever it is that has made them upset, they are able to get their frustration or disappointment off their chest, so to speak. Additionally, it shows you actually care to learn about what happened versus just resolve it – which in many cases can not only help you as a retailer, but also shows your customer genuine consumer care.

Tip 2: Look Your Customer In their Eyes 

Nothing says you care like eye contact. Don’t focus on anything but an upset customer when they are talking to you. This means look at them no matter what, giving them confidence that you are truly listening. The reality may be you want to scream out loud and ask them to leave your store right away, but you can’t do this. Look in their eyes and let them explain how they feel.

Tip 3: Ask Them What They Want

Most upset customers have an idea in mind as to how they can feel satisfied about their disgruntled situation. Let them tell you what their ideal scenario would be. Based on what they say, do your best to accommodate their requests. If their requests are completely unrealistic, calmly explain that while you wish you could that, you cannot. Share with them what you can do and acknowledge that while it doesn’t meet their expectations, you hope it will ease their frustration, etc. even just a little bit. The key here is to let them know you heard what they said and you are doing the best you can to support them in resolving it.

Finally, recognize that if you don’t listen to your customers, someone else will. They will vent with friends, family and even other merchants. Collectively, that’s a whole lot of potential customers that should not have to hear about one customer’s bad experience. Instead, take the time to listen so that the stories they share with friends, family and others will be about your outstanding customer service – not  your lack of care.

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