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How to Handle a Grumpy Customer


It is an understatement to say that providing exceptional customer care is fundamental to my agency and is something that I impress upon my entire team.


We work hard at it, and we do a superb job yet despite our finely tuned Customer Care skills, we occasionally have a “grumpy” customer.


The truth is the customer might not be grumpy about something we’ve done, but regardless, they’re still grumpy and we must take ownership of the situation and handle it.


Here are my go-tip suggestions:


This is the time to pay attention and deploy your best active listening skills. It’s terrible to ask a customer to repeat themselves after they finished complaining or venting and perhaps even worse, is to not listen closely enough and miss the salient points of the situation.


Apologize and empathize with the customer. This doesn’t mean you are saying you did anything wrong. Saying I’m so sorry that happened doesn’t mean you caused the problem. It shows that you care and intend to offer guidance and assistance.


Provide solutions that will help the customer. The solution might not be exactly what they want but it is something they will understand to be the best that can be done in their situation.


Always remain professional, courteous, and calm. Getting overwhelmed and agitated will cause the customer to respond in kind and that’s clearly not a good way to settle the situation. It takes practice, but being patient and kind is your best approach.

Following up with the customer is your best “next action step” and is the “extra” touch point that will make the customer feel appreciated. An email or better yet, a phone call, will go a long way to turning that grumpy customer into a raving fan.


Our goal is to build strong relationships with our customers and by solving a problem or taking care of a particularly bothersome situation we demonstrate that we are always willing to go over and beyond so that the customer is satisfied.


We not only win their loyalty, but we also get increased referrals and positive word-of-mouth that leads to new business.



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