Opinion

Angry customers
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Why does my business have such angry customers?

6 Mins

Recent research carried out by Zendesk, revealed that 82 per cent of people have stopped doing business with a company due to bad customer service and 95 per cent have become angry customers and taken action, such as discouraging others from buying from the brand.

For a variety of reasons, some businesses choose to place focus on growth, product efficacy or driving sales – leaving customer service on the back-burner and, as a consequence, customer service teams are left poorly equipped to deal with challenging, or worse, angry customers.

Being able to deal with angry customers is no easy feat and your company’s product or service isn’t always the core reason for any upset. Here are three major reasons why you may have angry customers and what you can do to nullify these types of scenarios.

(1) It’s not you, it’s the product

Customers are usually upfront with their feelings when it comes to a faulty product. If there’s a gap between their expectations of the product and the reality they’re encountering, then the customer service team will often be the ones to take the brunt.

Customer complaints often stem from core issues with the product. Organisations need to be instrumental in carrying out quality control checks of their products and the processes to deliver them.

Putting in place internal quality checks can help unearth poor quality work before a customer ever receives the product. The same should apply to logistics and delivery processes across the whole of the customer journey.

However, customers may still experience issues and frustration. For some issues, effective communication with customers can transform an unhappy customer into a vocal advocate.

For example, a customer may have trouble getting the product to work or feel misled by the product information. The trick here is to connect with the customer on an emotional level and make them feel heard, working collaboratively with the customer through the issue together.

(2) Learn from your mistakes

Having an effective complaint handling process is important, but that is the equivalent of closing the stable door after the horse has bolted – it’s too late, your customer has already suffered.

In these scenarios, it is key that your organisation “doesn’t make the same mistake twice”. This also provides an opportunity for the customer service team to act as the “voice of the customer” to advocate and drive change.

The first step in tackling this is analysing and categorising the issues and complaints your customer service team is receiving from customers. Customer complaints should be embraced and used as a valuable learning tool to expand personal interaction and engagement, and reinforce customer service values within your organisation.

Most angry customers don’t bother to complain, they simply walk away. The market insight that can be gained by gathering feedback from your customers cannot be understated.

As an example, perhaps 35 per cent of customer issues or complaints are with deliveries – utilising this data effectively can lead to a goldmine of insight for your head of logistics to build a case to address the underlying issues.

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(3) Low emotional intelligence of customer service personnel

Emotional Intelligence, often referred to as EQ, is the ability to consciously identify and manage your own emotions, the emotions of others and to handle interpersonal relationships thoughtfully and empathetically.

Anger is often a reaction to other hidden emotions (anxiety, fear, helplessness and even, at times, the protection of the customer’s own ego), so the anger displayed might only be the tip of the iceberg.

Some customers want to communicate their frustrations straightaway, whilst others will wait to bring them up later in the conversation, if they feel that their needs are still not being met.

In situations like this, it’s important to deal with their emotions head-on and make it clear to them that their problems, requests or challenges are taken seriously. Showing them that you are on the same page goes a long way in getting them on side.

Often, softer skills training for customer service agents is essential to make sure there are consistent expectations and ability across the team. It also wouldn’t hurt to make sure EQ is high on the priority list when recruiting customer service agents for your company.

Customer complaints are important. And there’s no better way to improve a product or service than by collecting direct feedback from your customers. However, the way a complaint is handled can be the difference between keeping a customer or losing one.

So, the next time your organisation receives a complaint; listen, find a solution and follow up to see if your customer is happy with the way you are handling it.

In doing so, you are creating a consistent and seamless experience that will promote long term loyalty, product improvements and a better quality of customer service – without angry customers.

John Walls is the head of EMEA customer success at Zendesk

 

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