How to Respond to Angry Clients or Customers (With Examples!)
Learn how to respond to angry customers or clients potentially turning a negative review into a raving one.
Doing so professionally and gracefully can turn your customer’s or client’s day around (and win them over). These 4 things will guarantee they leave satisfied.
How to Say Respond To Clients and Customers (With Examples!)
4 steps to respond gracefully to angry customers or clients
Let’s talk about the four things to remember or do when you’re facing an angry confrontation. In the video, I’ll share:
- How to put yourself in the customer’s or client’s shoes
- How to listen and validate the customer or client
- How to apologize when it’s appropriate
- How to ask for and provide solutions
- Where to find more help
Click below to read through the transcript or use to follow along with the video.
Every business is going to have angry clients or customers at some point because humans have emotions and sometimes we take them out on the wrong people. But if you know how to handle it smoothly, you could turn a potentially negative review into a raving one.
I talked about how to say no to clients in our last video, but in this one let’s talk about the four things to remember or do when you’re facing an angry confrontation.
I’m Tara Wagner, breakthrough coach and lifelong entrepreneur. I help other entrepreneurs use a holistic approach to business so they can create profits they can depend on without burning themselves out. If that sounds like your jam, be sure to check out my free training on how you can do the same
Do It With Me!
As we get into these steps. Here’s what I want you to do, I want you to think about a recent confrontation that you had with an angry customer or client, bring it to mind. And as I walk you through these four things, I want you to write down what your response could have been according to these steps, you can put this in the comment section under the video, and I can reply to it in and give you any feedback on it as well.
You can also share any situation that you’re currently facing or have faced, and I’ll do my best to share what I would say if I were in your shoes. Just remember, this is hard at first and that’s normal, but practice makes this easier. So, if it starts out hard, don’t give up, know that that is part of the process. And the more you go through this process, the easier it’s going to get.
Step #1 – Put Yourself in Their Shoes
The first thing that I want you to do is to put yourself in their shoes. It’s so easy to take these things personally, but we need to remember. It’s not about us. It’s about them having a bad day, taking it out in the wrong place. We can empathize with that, though.
All of us have had those bad days and taking it out on somebody, somebody close to us, or a complete stranger, I don’t know which one is better. But it happens. The more we can empathize with that and understand that they’re just having a bad day, they’re not a bad person. And this isn’t about us, this is about whatever they’re going through behind the scenes. The more we’re going to be able to show up to serve them better.
So, to put yourself in their shoes, ask yourself if I were this person, having this day, struggling with these things and whatever else might be going on behind the scenes, how would I like somebody to respond to me? If I were snapping at somebody, if I were angry, if I were just not being a very nice person, not my best self at all, how would I hope that some could respond to help me get back on track? I want you to remember our businesses exist to make a client or a customer happy. That’s why we do what we do. That’s why we get paid for it. That doesn’t mean that we can’t have boundaries. We get to have boundaries, but we do get to understand that we get to show up and serve people on their good days and their bad days. And sometimes the impact that we get to make has nothing to do with our business, but just has to do with how we’re hearing them, how we’re responding to them, and how we’re helping them to feel.
Step #2 – Listen + Validate
And we do this by number two, listening and validating. There’s a saying that goes, “Seek first to understand before you seek to be understood”. And that’s basically what this is. You want to make sure that you’re understanding that person before you actually start answering them.
There are four ways that you do this:
- Ask questions
- Reflect as needed
- Validate what it is you’re hearing
Let’s go through these one at a time. First of all, starting with listening and asking questions. I’m going to give you some examples of what that can look like in the moment. So, let’s pretend that a client or customer is going off on you or they’re frustrated about something or they’re taking it out on you.
Some things that you can say are:
“I’m not sure I’m fully understanding. Can you tell me more?” This is just asking the question and giving them room to express themselves, which can help them to feel heard and know that you actually care. You want to make sure that you also reflect this in your body language, by the way. So, nodding, paying attention, keeping your eyes open and focused on them, maybe even taking notes, turning your body towards them, making sure that you’re really showing physically that you’re there with them.
#2: Ask Questions
You might also ask, “Can you tell me what happened?” or “When you say _____, do you mean _____?” This shows that you’re really listening and seeking to understand. Now at first with some people, they may feel more frustrated and you might want to just say, “I completely understand. I just want to make sure that I understand so that I can get the right solution for you”. “Is it okay if I ask you some more questions?” and then continue on that path for as long as it’s helpful. Don’t ask questions If you don’t need to ask questions if it’s a clear-cut situation, you might be able to skip this altogether, but definitely make sure that you listen and ask questions where it’s necessary.
Asking questions is also helpful because it gives you time to think and process and breathe and maybe calm your own emotions down so that you can respond better. So that’s the first two.
#3: Reflect as Needed
The third part of this is to reflect as needed. The angrier somebody is the more you want to reflect back on what it is you’re hearing them say. And you want to make sure that you do this in a way that is very specific. When you do this, number one, it tends to diffuse a bomb. The angrier they are, the more they feel heard and the more they can calm down. But when you’re doing this, you need to make sure that you’re using their exact words and you’re reflecting something back. So if somebody were to say, “I’m absolutely livid, this project wasn’t finished on time”, you then reflect that back by saying, “I get that you’re absolutely livid this project wasn’t finished on time”. You’re a little bit like a parrot. You want to be careful. You don’t want to overdo this, but this is helpful the angrier that person is. Another example is if somebody said, “This ruined my whole day”, “of course, it ruined your whole day”. This is your way of reflecting back what you’re hearing, but also validating at them at the same time.
If they ever say, “Why are you just parroting back everything that I say”, then you might want to say something like, “I want you to know that I hear you and that I’m taking this seriously”. The one thing you don’t want to do though is parrot back insults. So, if somebody says, “This is stupid”, you don’t want to say, “This is stupid” with them. You want to say, “I understand that this is stupid for you”, or “I understand how stupid this seems to you”. Or “I understand that this can seem very stupid” and then validate them.
#4: Validate What it is That You’re Hearing
You want to let them know that it’s okay for them to feel the way they feel because as it is, everybody’s entitled to their emotions even if we don’t agree with them, agree with the way they want things fixed or see it in the same way that they do. And even if they’re going about expressing those emotions in an unhealthy way, the emotions aren’t wrong, the way they’re choosing to express it is not healthy.
So what we want to do is validate the emotions, not necessarily the actions that are going along with it. Some examples of this could be:
- “I completely understand why you’re upset and you have every right to be.”
- “You did the right thing by bringing this up.”
- “I know it’s hard to deal with confrontation sometimes so I’m so glad you’re telling me this.” – This right here is a powerful statement to tell somebody. If they are upset and they’re telling you, thank them for telling you, because it helps them to really feel heard and understood and it calms them down, especially if they don’t like confrontation and they’re feeling a little anxious about it as well.
- And then another example could be, “I totally get your frustration with this policy”. So if they say something like this policy is stupid, I totally get your frustration with this policy. You’re validating them, not just parroting back what they said or agreeing with them in something that maybe you don’t agree with.
Step #3 – Apologize Where Appropriate
Number three is to apologize where it’s appropriate to do so. You don’t want to take the blame for something that you didn’t do wrong. You don’t want to say you did something wrong. If you didn’t, but you do want to own up when you made a mistake or someone on your team made a mistake, or if there is a problem that you can apologize for.
Even if you didn’t do something wrong, you may still want to apologize for the experience that they’re having. So, for example:
- “I’m so sorry this happened.”
- “I’m sorry this didn’t work out better.”
- “I really wish I could do more.”
Step #4 – Ask For and Provide Solutions
Number four is to ask for and provide solutions. Remember what we were saying in the last video about how to say no to clients or customers it’s like catching a ball and then tossing it back to them instead of just letting the ball drop by saying no. You want to keep the conversation going by asking for solutions or giving them alternatives.
You really want to look for a win-win he here, something that’s going to meet their needs while still honoring your boundaries. The boundaries that we talked about in that How To Say No video. Now this can be tricky so it’s okay to ask for time, to come up with some solutions and get back to them with a couple alternatives or ask them if they have some alternatives that they’d be open to.
Some examples of asking for and providing solutions could be:
- “How can I help make this right?”
- “What would help you to know that we’re taking this seriously?”
- “I’d love to find a way to meet your needs that I’m capable of doing. Is there something that comes to mind for you?”
And again, just like we talked about in that last video, receive this, like they’re tossing you a ball, don’t just drop it or say, no, I can’t do that, but catch it and then play the game with them, toss it back to them as another alternative. Look at the things they’re asking for and use those as clues for what you might provide instead.
Now, if you followed along to craft your own response to an angry client or customer, be sure to post that below for some feedback or some other ideas, or if you’re facing a situation that you need help with share the details in the comments, and I’ll do my best to share a response that I would use if I were in your shoes. And if you want help creating an amazing business full of clients that do not burn you out, be sure to check out my Healthy Hustle Roadmap.
ARE YOU READY TO create a biz with satisfied clients?
If you’d like more support in creating an amazing business with customers and clients that don’t burn your out, be sure to check out my Healthy Hustle Roadmap.
This free class, How To Use a Holistic Approach to Create a Profitable Business Without Burning Yourself Out will teach you the three mistakes small business owners are making and introduce you to the tools and strategies that will help you create reliable profits working less than 40 hours a week.
You can grab a free seat for that class by clicking below.
WHAT ABOUT YOU, BOSS?
Have you been in a situation where you didn’t know how to respond to a customer or client?
Let me know in the comments below.
The post How to Respond to Angry Clients or Customers (With Examples!) appeared first on XO, Tara Wagner.