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As a business owner, chances are that you’ve already experienced having to face an upset or angry customer. If you haven’t yet, as much as you try to avoid it, coming across one is highly inevitable. 

Unsatisfied customers need to be handled with care because a negative experience with you can be detrimental to their (and others’ - remember that word goes around quick) perception of you and your brand. Service recovery is never straight forward but the goal is always to turn an unhappy customer into a happy one! 

Read on for our customer experience team’s top 5 tips and you’ll be prepared to handle these scenarios with grace and ease!

1. Remain calm and professional at all times

The key thing to remember throughout any interaction with an upset customer is to remain calm at all times. 

If the customer is raising their voice in front of other customers, simple take lead in the conversation and quickly bring the customer somewhere quiet to discuss their concerns. Offer the customer a beverage and sit them down with a notepad to take notes. This will show the customer that you respect their feedback and are taking the conversation seriously.

2. Express empathy

When a customer comes to you with a complain, there’s a reason for the particular way they are feeling. Rather than responding defensively, it’s important that you put yourself in your customer's shoes, show empathy and try to understand their concerns. You may be surprised at how quickly doing this along can change their approach and the situation. 

Apologise to the client for the displeasing experience and ensure them that you will do all that you can to change that experience for them moving forward. You can tell them, for example, 'I am sorry to hear that you had to go through that' or 'I am here to help you and we will work through this together'

3. Don't take it personally

The more you take a complaint personally, the more likely you will be to harbour negative emotions and retaliate. Remember that the customer is not angry at you, but rather with the  experience or product that wasn't working well for them.

Once you’re able to understand that complaints have nothing to do with you personally, the service recovery process will become easier for you. Understanding the client will become much easier as well as you will not be clouded with negative emotions when dealing with them.

4. Active Listening and Body Language

Always allow your customer to speak and express their concerns before you offer solutions. Don’t interrupt them. 

Body language is equally as important. We are often not always aware about our body language, so it’s a good habit to start being conscious about it in any kind of customer interaction. When dealing with an upset customer, however, avoid standing or sitting in front of your customer with your hands crossed. Rather, sit up or stand straight with your arms uncrossed and always maintain eye contact. 

Keeping an open body language when communicating with your customers will create a more welcoming and positive atmosphere.

5. Thank the customer for their feedback and follow up with the customer

Once you’ve heard out the customer using the tips above, you want to finish the conversation by thanking them for their honest feedback. If you are confident to offer solutions on the spot, do it. If you’re not too sure just yet, don’t feel obliged to do so. Explain to the customer that you’ll require some time to review the feedback and will follow up shortly. 

If you do suggest a follow up, it’s best to do so within 24 to 48 hours. Checking in and following up with your customer once you have provided solutions will show your customer that you genuinely care about them and that their feedback matters to you. 

Core Collective is building centres of excellence where the top fitness and wellness professionals collaborate to deliver best services and results for our customers, all under one roof.

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