Anyone that has ever worked behind a counter anywhere has experienced the irate customer from time to time. No matter how hard you try, it’s bound to happen. So how do you deal with this situation?
First, don’t be defensive, interrupt the customer, or make excuses. This will only add to the drama. Let the customer vent, maintain eye contact, and pay attention to your body language. Avoid crossing your arms, putting your hands on your hips, or leaning toward the client. Listen carefully and nod to show you are concerned and paying attention. Consider what they are saying and think about a strategy to solve the problem. When it is your time to speak, consider your volume and tone, and leave out the sarcasm. Understand that the vast majority of unhappy customers never complain they just never come back. We like to think a customer is doing us a huge favor by bringing a deficiency to my attention and allowing me an opportunity to solve the problem and save the relationship.
Next time you are facing a mad customer, look at the imaginary cartoon cloud above their head. What they are really saying is “I like doing business in your store and want to continue, but you messed up and I’m giving you an opportunity to fix it”. Remember, it is five times more expensive to cultivate a new client than to keep the one you have across the counter.