How Do You Deal With An Angry Customer?
When it comes to customer service, one question that we get asked frequently is “How do you deal with an angry customer?” In this article, we share the four steps of the HEAT technique.
Customer service is one of the main strategies a business can use to make it stand out from its competitors and it can have a massive impact on the success of a business.
A satisfied customer is likely to tell five other people about their experience with your company whereas a dissatisfied customer is likely to tell 12 other people about their bad experience with your company. So, it is important that when things do go wrong, the situation is handled in the correct manner. You must listen carefully, empathise, take action and remain calm when dealing with complaints or problems.
To handle a difficult customer situation and resolve a problem you must first understand it. Listen to the customer carefully and ensure you have clearly understood the problem. Make sure the team is aware of problems and share customer feedback with them.
Choose the best solution for solving the problem by working with colleagues to identify the issue and confirm the best options to resolve the problem.
Ensure you discuss the options with the customer in order to reach an agreement about the proposed solution.
To discover more about good customer service, check out our Highfield Level 2 Award in Customer Service.
Use the HEAT technique to deal with angry customers and complaints.
The four steps of the HEAT technique are Hear, Empathise, Apologise and Take Action. Detailed below are the four steps in this process explained in more detail.
Step No. 1 - Hear
The first step is to simply be quiet and listen to what the customer has to say. Most customers want to tell you their story and feel as if someone is listening to them. It is really important that you do not interrupt and do not add too many additional questions or comments at this point; just let them talk. Use body language and noises of agreement and understanding to acknowledge to them that you are listening to them. Often this alone makes the customer feel better, they have got the situation off their chest and had a chance to tell their story.
Step No. 2 - Empathise
The next stage is to show empathy and concern for their situation. Ensure that your tone of voice is genuinely empathetic. It may even be that your company is not actually at fault, but the customer may still be in an undesirable situation, so empathise.
Step No. 3 - Apologise
It is at this point that you should apologise. Use “I” instead of “we” to show your concern. Even if you feel you have done nothing wrong, you still should apologise for the customer’s situation and inconvenience.
Step No. 4 - Take Action
The last stage is to do what you can to solve the problem. You may not have the power to give the customer exactly what is wanted but you should strive to provide the best possible solution. Giving customers a choice at this stage will make them feel more in control so where possible give them options.
Finally remember, a prompt response to an angry customer is critical in maintaining a positive relationship with customers and maintaining customer loyalty.