How to Handle Angry Ecommerce Customers

When an angry customer calls you on the phone or sends a cross email, the worst thing you can do about it is to panic, play a blame game or delay your reaction.

As an e-commerce business owner,  you’ll be dealing with such customers often, and unless you want them to walk away and leave you for another online store, you need to know how to handle such situations efficiently and turn your angry customers into loyal ones.

Here are the steps you should follow.

Listen

To be able to successfully solve the issue you’re dealing with, you need to listen carefully to what your customer has to say. You could practice a skill of active listening, try to focus all your senses on what they have to say, and give them both verbal and non-verbal signs that you’re paying attention.

If they’ve sent you an email, read it over and over – until you grasp the true meaning of the complaint. If you need some extra clarity with it, ask them additional questions, either via email or even better, by the phone. Make sure you’re taking notes during the conversation so that you don’t omit any significant details, and they wouldn’t have to repeat their issue all over. Talking about details will also calm your customers down, as emotions and details are handled by the different parts of the brain. 

You may find yourself feeling offended by the way your customer communicates with you, but try not to take it personally and keep your calm. Try to feel empathy towards your customers, and understand what they’re going through, as you’ve probably been in a similar situation several times already.

Be honest and apologize

The best way to deal with your customers is to be honest with them and apologize, as 37% of them expect you to if your service is not satisfactory. 

Don’t make your apology sound insincere by saying things which take away your company’s responsibility, such as “Mistakes were made” or “I’m sorry you’re feeling that way”. Your apology should acknowledge that you understand that things went wrong on your end, that you’re sorry for the mistake and doing what you can to solve the issue and prevent it from happening again.

It’s a good idea to use their name when having a conversation, as well as to give them yours. This will make your conversation seem more personal, and show your feeling of commitment and resolution to solve the problem.

Offer a resolution

Taking the actions above should result in calming the situation down, and getting your conversation to the resolution part of the discussion. 

Begin with asking your customers about their expectations and potential alternatives which would suit them. You can also offer solutions that are appropriate for the situation.

If you are having a problem solving the issue yourself, be honest with your customers about it too, and assign an agent who is more qualified to help them. 

Be prompt

Apart from the way you communicate with your unhappy customers, your efficiency in getting the problem solved is of crucial importance too – 29% of customers find the first contact resolution is the most valuable when it comes to customer service and support.

If you can solve the issue within the first contact, don’t delay and do whatever you can to get it fixed. If the resolution will take some time, let your customer know about it, and commit to solving it or getting in touch with a client again at the predefined time.

Efficiency matters when it comes to the time of your first response too. Three-quarters of online customers expect the response of customer service in less than 5 minutes, and for a chat response it’s significantly lower, as the consumers don’t expect to wait for help for more than 45 seconds

So, if you want your customers happy and satisfied, it’s best to be prepared to meet the demands of your customers when the volume of their requests peaks, either by hiring extra staff or by using personalized contact center solutions.

A few don’ts

There are a couple of things you shouldn’t do when you’re dealing with a customer who is unhappy or dissatisfied with your service.

 One of such things is offering quick fixes in order to pacify your customer. When your angry customers reach out to you, they are not looking for a monetary benefit, such as a discount or a price reduction, They are looking for a way to solve their problem permanently, and any other offer from your side can make things worse and cause your customers to churn. Use their complaint as a chance to identify the problem within your business and fix it, so both you and your customer will benefit.

Another thing you should avoid is trying to solve the solution online, on group forums or social media profiles. Such behavior can hardly be considered professional, so make sure you’ve switched the problem-solving part to another, more personal mode of communication.

An angry customer is still your customer, so do what’s in your power to keep them.

Elaine Bennett

Elaine Bennett is a marketing specialist and a blogger, currently based in Sydney, Australia. Topics that she covers include marketing, branding, entrepreneurship, and SMBs. She’s especially interested in social media and technology. Loves coffee, music and video games. Follow her on Twitter @ElaineCBennet

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