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Poonam Datta | Founder & CEO


Post graduate in Marketing & Business Management, and with over 20 years of diversified experience with renowned multinationals. IMC is a vision that evolved from her knowledge of how individuals play a key role in business successes.

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Mistake Made Dealing With Angry Customers

We all deal with angry customers, and it's enough to drive people up the wall. Angry and difficult customers are a major cause of workplace stress, and they eat up huge amounts of your time and the resources of your organization. The most common mistake employees make when dealing with the hostile, difficult or angry customer. By avoiding this particular error, you can save yourself a lot of stress and time.

Mistakes
When you are faced with an angry customer, you probably assume that the customer wants his or her "problem" fixed. That's a logical approach and it's at least partly true. Angry customers expect that you will be able to help them in some concrete way, by meeting their want or need. However, there's more to the story.
Ever notice that with a really angry person, even if you can "fix" the problem, the person still acts in angry or nasty ways? Why is that? Well, actually angry customers want several things. Yes, they want the problem fixed, but they also want to BE HEARD, TO BE LISTENED TO, and to have their upset and emotional state recognized and acknowledged.

What most employees do with angry customers is move immediately to solve the problem without giving that acknowledgment. Do you know what happens? The customer is so angry that he or she isn't prepared to work to solve the problem, doesn't listen, and gets in the way of solving the problem. So the number one error is moving to solve the problem before the customer is "ready", or calm enough to work with the employee. The result is the employee has to repeat things over and over (since the customer didn't hear), and has to ask the same questions over and over. And that's what drives people nuts.

The Solution
The solution is to follow this general rule: When faced with an angry customer, FIRST focus on acknowledging the feelings and upset of the customer. Once the customer starts to calm down as a result of having his or her feelings recognized, THEN move to solving the problem. You'll find that this will save you a lot of time and energy.

Here are a few phrases you can use:
It seems like you're pretty upset about this and I don't blame you. Let's see what we can do.
It has to be frustrating to have to return a faulty product.
Most people would be angry if their hotel reservation got lost and they were stuck
Make sure you address the feelings first, THEN move to fix the problem. You must do both.

Your work success hint!
Did you know that a high percentage of conflict at work and at home is a result of ineffective use of language? It's true. The best part is that you can learn to alter your communication and language so that what you say is perceived as more cooperative, and less confrontational.

The result? Less conflict incidents and less severe conflicts

The Point: We all experience conflict in our lives. There's always been a lot of interest in how to manage conflict once it appears in the open, and that's important. What's not so common is a concern for preventing unnecessary conflict, so it doesn't start in the first place. Its noticed that people who are involved in little conflict actually communicate differently than those who seem to be involved in a lot of conflict situations, and that these differences occur at work and in personal relationships.


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