Turning Angry Customers Into Loyal Customers

At what point do you give up on a customer?

The right answer, of course, is “never.”

Of course mistakes will happen, and products that should work won’t, and service calls will arrive late. Customers on the receiving end of such problems have a right to be upset. But a contact center agent has a chance to pull that relationship back from the brink with the right approach.

The Walt Disney Company, one of the most successful in the world, is not immune to angry patrons, even if they’re wearing personally embroidered mouse ears. They try to keep those customers through a method called HEARD:

H – Hear

E – Empathize

A – Apologize

R – Resolve

D – Diagnose

Here’s how it works:

Hear

The first step toward bringing an angry customer back to the fold is listening, not talking. Contact centers want to keep average handle time low, but sometimes you need to allow those few extra minutes for a customer to vent before beginning the relationship rebuilding process.

Empathize

This means validating the customer’s feelings – “I understand why you’re angry.” Create an emotional connection with the customer. It’s a trait that should be more highly prized at contact centers.

Apologize

Many businesses start here, and sometimes that’s all a customer really wants. But when it’s time to get to the “I’m sorry,” it should be said in a way that sounds authentic, and not read off a script – “ABC Industries apologizes for your inconvenience. Your business is very important to us….etc.” Have your agents say it like they mean it.

Resolve

What can the agent do to correct the problem? Here, contact centers that allow agents more autonomy have an advantage, as these agents can take it on themselves to offer appropriate compensation without having to consult managers or put the angry customer on hold (which will not improve his or her mood).

Diagnose

Whatever the outcome of each call like this, use it as a learning experience for both the agent and the company. How can similar issues be avoided? What worked and what didn’t in making that customer feel valued?

Does your contact center have any techniques that have worked to turn customers’ frowns upside down? Share them on our Facebook page

Read more tips on how to spoil your customers in our Quality Management blog

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